News Archives

  • One Family, 100 Years of Roos

    UMKC Alumni Association honors the Tedrow/Selders/Hogerty Family with the 2024 Legacy Award
    Each year, the UMKC Alumni Association recognizes outstanding alumni achievements. UMKC is honoring the Tedrow/Selders/Hogerty family with its Class of 2024 Legacy Award. The family legacy dates back more than 100 years, when Joseph Herbert Tedrow graduated from the Kansas City School of Law (now UMKC School of Law) in 1922. The next family members to attend UMKC, then known as the University of Kansas City, were brothers Loyd Selders (B.A. ’39) and David V. Selders, who attended but did not finish due to World War II. The story extends several more generations. Alumni include Joseph’s granddaughter, Martha Hogerty (B.A. ’75, J.D. ’79), and grandson, Eugene (Pat) Selders, Jr. (B.A. ’72). Martha’s daughter, Mary (Hogerty) Needham (B.A. ’88) and her cousin Joan (Tedrow) Gilson (M.A. ’83, Ph.D. ’94), David’s daughter Dianne Selders Hogerty (B.A. ’78) and her son David Michael Hogerty (B.A. ’89) are also esteemed alumni. “I don’t remember a time when the campus was not a part of the essential fabric of my life,” Needham said. “It was thrilling to think that I was writing the next chapter in a very long legacy.” Members of the family have contributed greatly to the Kansas City community and beyond, both in their careers and volunteerism. Their philanthropic endeavors cross the city and region, including the Junior League of Kansas City, League of Women Voters, St. Mary’s Medical Center, South Plaza Neighborhood Association, Jackson County Historical Society, UMKC Neighborhood Advisory Council and more. Joseph Herbert Tedrow was a member of the Kansas City, Missouri Chamber of Commerce from 1915 until his death in 1951. Most of those years were spent as transportation commissioner; he testified before the Interstate Commerce commission in Washington, D.C. on numerous occasions and authored a book of transportation regulation. Martha Hogerty served as Missouri public counsel for 12 years, where she advocated for Missouri residents and small businesses in matters of utility services. She served as the consumer advocate representative on the Federal Communications Commission’s Joint Board, which made recommendations to preserve and advance universal telephone service, and as a president of the National Association of State Utility Consumer Advocates. Now retired, but a lifelong learner, Martha returned to UMKC to audit classes. In 1974, David V. Selders founded Family Features Editorial Syndicate to deliver branded food content directly to consumers; the company provided high-quality content and photography to local magazines and newspapers free of charge. Selders and Family Features pioneered the use of formatted content and the commitment to tracking content placements. Fifty years later, Family Features is still headquartered in Mission, Kansas, and works with top brands to deliver food, lifestyle, and home and garden content. Dianne Selders Hogerty and David Michael Hogerty joined the family business during their careers. Dianne co-founded a chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier International in Kansas City, a philanthropic organization of women leaders in the food, beverage and hospitality industry. She served as president of the international organization in 2004-05. “I married after my freshman year of college and stopped my education to begin our family,” Dianne said. “At the ripe old age of 29, I returned to school and finished my degree at UMKC. If UMKC hadn’t been here so I could continue my education, I wouldn’t have become the ‘me’ I am today. I will be forever grateful.” Feb 26, 2024

  • UMKC Marketing and Communications Wins 10 CASE Awards

    Awarded projects range from advertising to writing
    The University of Missouri-Kansas City Strategic Marketing and Communications division received 10 awards for excellence in advancement, alumni relations, marketing and communications initiatives and materials from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education, also known as CASE. The division received 2023 Best of District VI Awards in categories that include advertising, design, magazines, videos and writing.  “At UMKC, we are blessed with an immensely talented marketing and communications team who do great work, day in and day out, sharing our university’s unique story to the world,” said Anne Hartung Spenner, vice chancellor for Strategic Marketing and Communications. “This year we broke our team record for CASE awards. What a great honor to see our team’s excellent work recognized by our higher education peers.” Here are the following projects that received awards: Special Events: In-Person (Single-Day): School of Medicine 50th anniversary event In 2022, the UMKC School of Medicine celebrated the 50th anniversary of the founding of the school and its innovative six-year program that accepts students right out of high school. The UMKC Strategic Marketing and Communications team designed a full suite of materials such as a 50th anniversary logo and videos shown during the gala. Videos: Commercials: RoosDo TV spots The RoosDo TV spots aim to showcase UMKC Roos who are creating change across Kansas City and the rest of the world by spotlighting Roos who are bringing health-care solutions to those most in need, inventing new technologies that change lives, dedicating themselves to service and running businesses that employ thousands of people. Publications: Student Recruitment (Series or Package): First Gen Roo First Gen Roo is a program that supports first-generation college students at UMKC and helps them navigate the college experience. Strategic Marketing and Communications partnered with the First Gen Roo program staff to create branding and a series of recruitment materials to attract future students to the program. Videos: Promotional (Short): Community Engagement Video – Clio This video tells the story of Clio, a website and mobile app used across the country to record and preserve history in digital format. It also shares how its creator, David Trowbridge, Ph.D. , William T. Kemper associate research professor in digital and public humanities at the UMKC, uses Clio to help artistic, cultural and historical organizations in Kansas City, and across the country, tell their stories. Videos: Promotional (Long): Bloch 100th video We celebrated prominent Kansas City leader and founder of H&R Block Henry W. Bloch’s 100th birthday with a special celebration to pay tribute to his legacy and a video to honor Bloch and all he has meant to Kansas City, UMKC and the community. The event, on his birthday July 30, was open to the community, alumni, faculty, staff and students, as well as close Bloch family and friends. Videos: Fundraising (Flash Campaign/Giving Day): Giving Day 2022 UMKC students shared their stories about the positive impact scholarships have made on their lives and education as part of a video for UMKC Giving Day. The video also featured UMKC alumni and donors. Magazines: Alumni/General Interest (Printed Once a Year): Vanguard Volume 6 Vanguard Magazine is an annual research-centered publication that features the latest faculty news and research at UMKC. This specific issue highlighted stories that included sustainable urban agriculture, removing chemicals from drinking water, technology enhancements for work zone safety and limiting glaucoma damage. Design: Invitations: Crescendo invitation UMKC Crescendo is a signature university event that showcases student talent at its renowned Conservatory. The invitation for the event is a representation of the creativity, the passion and the deep artistic connections of the event. Marketing: Marketing Initiatives (More Than 25 Staff): Quick to Market 60-Day enrollment push The marketing team, partnering with enrollment management, gained approval for a plan to market to new geographic areas, market specific degree programs and employ more commercial marketing techniques. Three months after launch, there was a 10%increase in applications and admits and more than 5,900 qualified leads from new areas alone for the following semester. Writing: News/Feature (Less Than 1,000 Words): Professors Study the Impact of Sound on Operating Room Safety The story highlights how a faculty donation leads to collaboration between professors in the School of Medicine and UMKC Conservatory to yield safer surgeries. Feb 26, 2024

  • Meet the UMKC Alumnus and Fitness Trainer Taylor Swift Knows All Too Well

    Hugh Jackman, Justin Bieber and Jasmine Tookes are just a few of the other clients on Kirk Myers’ DogPound roster
    Are you ready for it? Meet the mastermind behind Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour workout routine. Kirk Myers (B.L.A.) is a UMKC alumnus who is a rock star in his field. As a Kansas City area native, he says that our city laid the foundation of who he is now. He was a UMKC student when he ultimately found his end game and moved to New York City to build his empire. Myers is a household name in the fitness industry, with clients ranging from models like Adriana Lima to singers like Swift, Justin Bieber and many more. Myers moved to New York City in 2011, and enchanted the personal training and fitness world in 2015 with DogPound, and his empire has only grown since then.  What made you decide to start your fitness business? I had my own battles with obesity at a very young age to the point where I almost died. I was determined to get myself healthy and fit and was able to lose weight. I set out to help others and from then on that’s been my mission and I love it. What made you decide to attend UMKC and what did you study? My brother went to University of Missouri, but my sister went to UMKC for law school, and I had always heard good things. My initial major was elementary education, but I ultimately decided to go with liberal arts and pursue my passion in fitness. I ended up losing 100 pounds during my time at UMKC! Where did the name DogPound come from? I was introduced to Hugh Jackman around the time I was starting to create my own brand and since he always brought his dog around, the inspiration for the name DogPound really came to fruition. What makes DogPound stand out in the fitness world? I’d probably also have to say the community we have, our staff, trainers and clients. It’s like a family, and we look forward to seeing each other every day! The community is strong, and clients really feel that because it’s authentic. We also have some super unique training methods that keep people coming back for more. Pairing clients with a team of trainers allows for constant variety while keeping some consistency. Do you think your experience as UMKC impacted your future? How so? Absolutely! It taught me that anything is possible and to never give up on your dreams. I took those lessons and put it into my work ethic. How do you think Kansas City impacted you as a person? Do you think it gave you the opportunity to grow into who you are? I love Kansas City! I think it’s amazing and I call it a hidden treasure. There are so many good people, cool art and history. It laid the foundation for who I am. My family and childhood best friends still live there. My first time really living in a city was when I went to UMKC, so it exposed me to a more urban lifestyle. How has an education at UMKC helped you? I think what I appreciated and learned the most is how to balance a busy schedule and how to do research. Those are two things I currently use every day as founder and trainer at DogPound. What would you say to students who aspire to be successful like you? Stay humble and keep at it! You can achieve anything you put your mind to but it’s important to give back and always remember where you came from. Is there anything outside of DogPound that you are proud of accomplishing? When I began as a trainer, I wanted to help people. As the company grew, we developed the five pillars of our brand — teamwork, passion, authenticity, positivity and to give back — all of which we believe has really led the vision to grow and helps define our purpose. Through these pillars, we’ve partnered with organizations that support children like Community of Unity for many years as well as volunteering at The Bowery Mission in New York City. I am proud of the way our team extends their community to those who need it. What advice would you give to prospective UMKC students, or current UMKC students? Be OK with not knowing what you want to do in life as you enter your college years. Your 20s will be a rollercoaster decade. Have fun, but also be smart and try to plan ahead when possible. Feb 26, 2024

  • Emmy-Winning Alumna, Educator to be Honored at the 2024 Alumni Awards

    UMKC Alumni Association recognizes Carmaletta Williams, Ph.D., with Spotlight Award
    Each year, the UMKC Alumni Association recognizes the achievements of outstanding alumni with an awards celebration. The Spotlight Award recognizes the excellence of a member of our UMKC community whose accomplishments, leadership and public service have caused regional and national attention to be focused on the university and the metropolitan area. This year, the Alumni Association is honoring Carmaletta Williams (B.A. ’84, M.A. ’87), Ph.D., with its Class of 2024 Alumni Spotlight Award.   Williams earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English from UMKC. She boasts a 28-year-long career teaching English and African American Studies at Johnson County Community College, where she also served as the founding Executive Director of the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. In addition, she received an Emmy for her portrayal of Zora Neale Hurston in “Zora Neale Hurston: Queen of the Harlem Renaissance.” She currently serves as the executive director of the Black Archives of Mid-America. “Dr. Williams is engaged in extremely important work in this community,” said Diane Mutti Burke, Ph.D., director of the UMKC Center for Midwestern Studies and co-director of the UMKC Center for Digital and Public Humanities. “The Black Archives of Mid-America, with Dr. Williams at its helm, is one of the most significant institutions engaged in the preservation and dissemination of the history of Black Kansas Citians, a community of great national historic significance.” It was clear speaking to Williams that her work is not slowing down any time soon. What inspired your interest in English literature and a career in teaching? My goal as a child was to become a writer. My mother told me that was well and good, but I needed to be sure that I had a regular income to support myself. She suggested that I be a teacher who writes. I always considered myself a writer who taught. In what ways do writers and poets of color uniquely contribute to the English literature genre and to our shared global community? Writers have an obligation to pull their readers into the work and have them share the experiences that they are sharing. Because the largest oeuvre of American literature is of the white European writers, Black writers and writers of other ethnic backgrounds have a unique perspective of life and lived experiences that they have to make accessible for people who share their heritage and for others wanting to learn more. You received an Emmy for your portrayal of Zora Neale Hurston on PBS. Is acting a new pursuit for you, and do you plan to continue? Acting is not new. I have been performing as Zora Neale Hurston for over two decades now. I performed in church as a small child and in high school plays. Teaching is certainly performance. Today’s students, especially, were raised on television, so they need to be “entertained” as they are taught. Developing pneumonic devices so students can remember the information presented in the classroom takes a bit of the same artistry and creativity that I use in performances – I try something, gauge student reactions, and if positive I repeat it, if not, I try something else. The goals is to help them to understand the information. If students understand, they will remember. What drew you to teaching internationally and bringing English literature to students around the world? There is a big world out there filled with people who surely want to know more about the American experience. I gladly share this with them. And as I teach . . . I learn. What advice do you have for students who would like to follow in your footsteps? Although I would be deeply flattered if any of my students told me they would like to follow in my footsteps, I would advise any one of them to chart their own paths. Their talents and goals are different from mine, and probably superior, so they need to develop their own means of achieving their goals. How did UMKC prepare you for/contribute to your success? My mother and grandmother repeatedly told me that the purpose of an education was to teach me how to learn. UMKC reinforced that. I learned that no matter what I decided to do with my life, or how I was to earn my living, that the basics were given to me. I just had to instill them and adapt them to my life’s choices. Feb 21, 2024

  • Celebrating the 2024 TAASU Freedom Breakfast

    President of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum (NLBM) Bob Kendrick shares the history of NLBM and the role it’s played in society
    The African American Student Union (TAASU) Freedom Breakfast was created to commemorate the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr., promote unity and harmony within the UMKC community and celebrate people of all backgrounds and experiences. This year marked the 33rd anniversary of the breakfast and included student performances. Bob Kendrick, the president of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, was the keynote speaker this year. He spoke about the history of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, from its humble beginnings to the $25 million new museum campus that is expected to be completed by 2028.“Baseball is what started the ball of social progress rolling in our country,” Kendrick said. “The Negro Leagues gave women the opportunity, before the country gave women the opportunity to do things. It indeed was a pioneering league,” he said “They did not care what color you were, and they did not care what gender you were. It is wonderful to have a place where our children can enter and truly gain a better understanding and appreciation as to why diversity, equity and inclusion are valid pillars towards building respect in our society.” “In this country, if you dare to dream, you believe in yourself, you can do or become anything you want to be. These baseball players dreamed about playing baseball, they did not know they were making history and did not care about making history. They just wanted to play ball. The pride, the passion and the determination that they displayed in the face of adversity, their story is not about the adversity, but rather what they did to overcome that adversity. This is a story that transcends race, it transcends age and it transcends gender.” Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas also spoke at the event.“Don’t be afraid to be proudly and exceptionally Black,” Lucas said. “We are changemakers on a university campus in Kansas City, where we are making a difference for our future.”“We need your voices making a difference. We need you all to make sure you are building the society of the future, that just doesn’t talk about equal opportunity, but lifts up our young people and lets them know about the pride and greatness they have within themselves.”   Feb 20, 2024

  • UMKC SSE Student Takes the Driver’s Seat With Her Involvement On Campus

    Mya Thomas’s passion for interdisciplinary learning fueled her interest in STEM organizations such as Women in Science (WiSci) and Baja Buggy
    Conducting research in Iceland and working with Baja Buggies. That’s the typical college experience for Mya Thomas, who loves a hands-on approach in the STEM field. We sat down with the Science and Engineering student to learn exactly what gets her gears going. What inspired you to pursue your major? My major is a Bachelor of Science in Earth and Environmental Science with a geology emphasis. I am pursuing minors in astronomy and physics as well as a certificate in Geographic Information Systems. I love exploring the natural world and learning about geologic processes I can observe with my own eyes in the field. I decided to add on minors in astronomy and physics because I want to specialize in planetary geology. It has always been a dream of mine to work for NASA and help plan missions to extraterrestrial lands. How and why did you get involved with WiSci? During my freshman year, I first discovered Women in Science through an alumna that now works with NASA. She said that WiSci was a wonderful and supportive environment for her to be a part of while she was at UMKC. I started off as a general member, but then was elected vice president the next semester and here I am as president about a year later. Since being involved with WiSci, I have gained a passion for making STEM more accessible and success in it more achievable. How and why did you get involved with Baja Buggy? I joined the Baja Racing Team my freshman year because I thought it was cool! My dad has always been a fan of NASCAR and I grew up riding go-karts with him, so I developed an interest in cars and racing. As the current president, I approach this role with a mission to, again, make STEM more accessible and approachable to non-majors. The executive team is composed of all non-engineering students, and we have leads from each engineering discipline at UMKC. I quickly learned how important it is to foster a supportive atmosphere, put trust in your team, and just ask the question when you have it. What do you plan to pursue post-grad? Why? Once I graduate from UMKC, I am going off to grad school to study planetary geology and continue building an interdisciplinary background in STEM. My dream career is to be on a mission planning team at NASA. I am most interested in being a part of a team that develops scientific data collection and analysis plans for a mission to planets or asteroids in our solar system. Mission planning teams at NASA are as interdisciplinary as you can get. Why is the representation of women in science important? What does it mean to you? Learning about science in school, I only recall hearing about Albert Einstein, Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin and Galileo. It wasn’t until late high school that I learned about famous female scientists like Marie Curie, Katherine Johnson and Mary Anning. Growing up with this narrative of science being a man’s field made it feel deviant to be interested in pursuing a career in STEM. I don’t want young girls to feel intimidated to pursue a career in STEM. I want young girls to grow up and maintain their curiosities in science and carry that into their career paths. Building a more encouraging atmosphere around STEM would open the industry to so many more diverse perspectives. Do you have any advice for women thinking of pursuing a STEM field? My biggest piece of advice would be to branch out and try new things, more so if you are intimidated. Not only will you grow as a student when you step outside of your comfort zone, but also as a human being. Do you have any current mentors who have inspired you? Hands down,the MELT team at UMKC. The MELT team is a volcanology research team led by Alison Graettinger, Ph.D. in the Natural and Build Environment Division in the School of Science and Engineering at UMKC. Graettinger has been an incredible mentor to me regarding both my undergraduate research pursuits and my general career path. She is passionate about facilitating her students’ success. The path I am on feels so much more fun with Graettinger and the MELT team by my side. Feb 19, 2024

  • Don't Go Breaking My Heart: Guide to Physical and Emotional Heart Health

    This American Heart Month, two UMKC faculty members discuss all things heart, both physical and emotional
    For American Heart Month, we talked to cardiologist Tracy Stevens (M.D. '90), and licensed professional counselor Shantai McCray, M.A., L.P.C., about keeping our hearts feeling good, healing a broken (or damaged) heart and more. Whether you plan to spend the holiday with your special someone or by taking part in some self-care, our two heart experts and UMKC faculty members can help make every day an opportunity to celebrate your heart, not just Valentine’s Day.   Stevens Stevens is a professor of medicine at UMKC, a cardiologist and medical director of the Muriel I. Kauffman Women’s Heart Center. She found passion for all things heart when she was working as a physical therapist at Saint Luke’s Hospital’s cardiology rehab center, and decided to attend the UMKC School of Medicine’s four-year medical program. “I still remain so grateful for the education and experience in my four years at UMKC,” she said. She has been a champion of women’s heart health throughout her career, and is passionate about educating people about ways to keep their hearts healthy. McCray McCray originally planned to attend law school, and first became a family court case manager, where she found she had a gift for compassion and understanding. Her plans for law school were still in sight, but as she started her family she continued her work in the field of mental health, substance abuse and family services. “At some point I had figured out that this is what I was supposed to be doing,” McCray said. After earning a master’s degree in counseling, she started a private practice and eventually became an adjunct teacher in the psychology department at UMKC in 2022. What does the average person need to know when it comes to taking care of our heart?  Stevens: It boils down to one word and it’s “discipline.” We can prevent traditional heart attack and stroke by 95% by engaging in lifestyle strategies. It’s what we know to do, we just aren’t doing it. Eat healthy. Think of a plate, not a platter. Half the plate is vegetables, a quarter fruit, a quarter protein. Just keep it simple. Stay active. You don’t have to be a maniac about exercise, but move. Do what you like to do and make yourself do it. Maintain ideal body weight, don’t smoke, limit alcohol and avoid prolonged sitting. Sitting is the new smoking and it’s killing us. If we do those ideal lifestyle strategies, it reduces our risk by 95%. If you just pick two, you reduce your risk by 92%. McCray: One of the things that I think is important both personally and in my position as a helper, is first, acknowledgment. Sometimes I feel like that is the biggest part of the battle, because we live in a society where productivity is key, and we continue to move and to go and to get involved and to be engaged, and there’s not enough focus. There hasn’t been enough focus on making sure that you’re okay so you can be at your best when you’re doing all these things. Just be in acknowledgment that there’s something going on, that you’re feeling something. It’s okay to feel it. Because we’re in this rat race, we don’t always stop. I give the example of putting my feet on the floor in the morning and asking myself, ’Where am I?’ And not physically, but, where am I? What am I feeling? What do I need to do in order to get myself to a better place? If we acknowledge it, then we can be prepared to work through it. If we push it to the side, that’s when it starts to build up and that’s when you start to have some of the larger issues. What signs might indicate our heart isn’t in the best shape? Stevens: If you’re stepping on the gas and now you can’t get the gas, you should think, “could this be my heart?” Anything exertional that limits you from the waist up. We think of a heart attack as the Hollywood holding-the-chest-clenched-fist visual. We don’t do a good job of asking about chest pain. It could not be chest pain but chest pressure. It could be indigestion, shortness of breath, pain between the shoulder blades, a toothache, elbow pain, dizziness. A symptom I worry about is new overwhelming fatigue. Anything from the waist up, including fatigue, that you can’t explain, you should ask, “could this be my heart?” McCray: You know what it feels like to feel normal. When you notice you’re feeling abnormal or something’s off, you have to pay attention to that. If you’re in practice of checking in on yourself mentally or physically, then you have a better idea of what’s going on. If you aren’t accustomed to tapping into your emotions, you might be feeling something, but not able to recognize it. So start with the mindset that, “Yep, I have feelings. They’re normal, and I need to be able to identify those. If I can do that, then I can do something about it before getting to a point where it's out of control.” Let’s talk broken hearts. How can someone get back to feeling good? Stevens: It’s never too late! We want to be on these healthy habits that reduce inflammation in our body. The anti-inflammatory lifestyle is of utmost importance, and it’s never too late to adopt healthy strategies. McCray: Healing is not linear. You have to show yourself self-compassion and be really intentional about allowing yourself to feel. It is a process of grief when you’ve lost someone and it can be really impactful. Allow it to come when it does and don’t get into your head and judge yourself. That just adds to it. The other thing I’ll say is still being intentional about connecting with people. As tough as it is, when your heart has been broken and trust has been compromised, connection still heals. Vulnerability begins connection. So even at your most vulnerable, you need that connection. Maybe it’s with a parent or a good friend. You can also connect with nature or a pet. How can we help the people around us take care of their hearts too? Stevens: It’s very sensitive, especially if you’re in a culture where people prepare food a certain way (with excess sodium or unhealthy eating habits). It’s hard to change, and disagreements break out when you try to change culture. It’s empowering people to understand that these lifestyle strategies make a difference. Even if you do just two. The best way to treat a heart attack is to prevent it. Being preventative is far easier up front than being reactive to crisis and chronic disease that could have been prevented. McCray: When you’re talking about community, it’s just about being present. We live in a productivity-driven society, and we go and go and go. So, when we’re asking those questions and checking in with one another, if we are making eye contact and being sincere, then it allows people to feel safe to open up. If we allow ourselves to stop and really be present and intentional about connecting with one another, then we can start to reduce the stigma around emotions. Feb 14, 2024

  • UMKC Professor Takes Cheering on the Chiefs to New Heights

    The School Of Science and Engineering Professor is a Certified Flight Instructor
    Ahead of the Super Bowl LVIII, School of Science and Engineering Professor Mujahid Abdulrahim, Ph.D. decided to take his love for the Kansas City Chiefs to new heights with skywriting. The certified flight instructor drew out designs such as the Kansas City Chiefs logo and a heart with Travis Kelce's 87 in the middle to celebrate the tight end's relationship with Taylor Swift in the sky. His work was featured in the Kansas City Star, FOX4 KC and KMBC 9. Feb 12, 2024

  • Online Nursing Program Recognized for Continued Excellence

    U.S. News ranks online master’s program 36th in the nation
    The UMKC School of Nursing and Health Studies ranked No. 36 among the nation’s best online graduate programs by U.S. News & World Report. According to Dean Joy Roberts, the school takes pride in the recognition for its online Master of Science (M.S.N.) program.“Our M.S.N. program has been well respected nationally, and highly ranked for decades due to the work of our faculty, staff and especially our students,” said Roberts. “Our graduates offer high-quality care and education to the people of Kansas City and across Missouri, as well as across the United States.”An early innovator in online graduate programs, this marks 12 consecutive years the program placed in the top 50. The ranking improved from No. 46 in 2023. The school’s many online offerings enable working registered nurses to continue to provide care in their communities, while preparing for the evolving and dynamic challenges of health care.Students in these programs participate in online discussions just as if they were present in the classroom. Technology offers two-way communication in real time via multiple modes. Students also receive on-site learning through summer institutes, where they attend clinical training or dissertation work sessions as well as deliver presentations to classmates and faculty. UMKC offers a variety of online graduate nursing tracks, including Master of Science in Nursing and other options:Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner (A.G.N.P.)Family Nurse Practitioner (F.N.P.)Neonatal Nurse Practitioner (N.N.P.)Nurse Educator (N.E.)Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (P.N.P.) Primary Care and Acute-Care (A.C. P.N.P.)Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (P.M.H.N.P.)Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner (W.H.N.P.)Ph.D.Doctor of Nursing Practice (D.N.P.) Feb 07, 2024

  • UMKC Students Do ‘More in 4’ with New Accelerated Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree Program

    Students earn both degrees in four years, saving time and money while they get a jump on their careers
    The Henry W. Bloch School of Management at the University of Missouri-Kansas City unveiled its newest program, More in 4, targeting a select, high-achieving group of students to receive generous scholarship dollars while accelerating their path to an MBA. Accelerated MBA programs at other universities offer a five-year path to a master's degree. With More in 4, UMKC will provide a unique opportunity for students to earn two degrees - their bachelor’s and master’s in business - in just four years, saving students time and money. “As Kansas City's business school, we're thrilled to offer students this opportunity to accelerate their education and jumpstart their careers,” said Brian Klaas, dean of the UMKC Bloch School. The new program also aligns with UMKC’s track record as an institution committed to accelerating students’ degree pursuits, launching them more quickly into their desired careers. UMKC offerings include the nationally ranked six-year B.A. / M.D. Program at the UMKC School of Medicine and the 3 + 3 Program at the UMKC School of Law, among others. "UMKC has a long, successful history with accelerated, combined degree programs," said UMKC Chancellor Mauli Agrawal. "Our commitment to providing new, first-class opportunities to our students is what makes us Kansas City's top university." By earning their MBA, students open a world of career possibilities and a chance to sharpen critical thinking and communications skills while they gain business and leadership skills to advance their career more quickly. More in 4 also taps the vast business leadership network of Kansas City and the Midwest, offering up the real-world learning students are looking for today in a college experience, according to a recent article in Insider HigherEd. Students who complete the More In 4 program will graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting or Bachelor of Business Administration as well as a Master of Business Administration. Bloch alumni Nathaniel Hagedorn, founder and CEO of Northpoint Development, offered inspiration for the More in 4 program and sees it as an opportunity to build talent for the region.  “We are very grateful to Nathaniel Hagedorn for his very generous financial support of the scholarship program and also for his willingness to engage with and mentor program participants,” Dean Klaas said.    Feb 06, 2024

  • Two Super Bowl Rings Before UMKC Graduation

    History student gets opportunity to work with the Arrowhead Art Collection
    Meghan Jaben (M.A. ’16), Ph.D. student in art history, has a unique internship accomplishment. “The Chiefs have won two Super Bowls since I’ve been here, and we get a Super Bowl ring as part of the organization,” Jaben said. “It’s awesome that we’re able to have this memory of such great seasons.” GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium is not just a Kansas City icon. This season, the Chiefs announced an official partnership with UMKC that provides some truly unique opportunities to students just like Jaben.She got to work with the Arrowhead Art Collection, which houses multiple pieces of art throughout GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium . It began as part of the 2010 renovation. Every piece was made by an artist with a connection to Chiefs Kingdom. Photo courtesy of Meghan Jaben “I got the opportunity to come work with the collection through an internship with the UMKC history department,” Jaben said. “It’s a funded internship where they match you with an opportunity in the community.”In Jaben’s case, that opportunity was at the Kansas City icon, GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium . This would be a touchdown for any student’s career, but as a former college athlete, Jaben was particularly excited.“I watched sports growing up. I also played sports, so sports have been a really big part of my life,” Jaben said. “To be able to blend sports and art was the dream, so it’s been really fun.”Such an opportunity isn’t available to every college student. Jaben credits the proximity to the city. “There’s huge value in being a student in the city where there are so many opportunities,” Jaben said. “There are alumni. There are community members to connect you. There are existing relationships with organizations that help a student who might not have those connections be able to branch out. Kansas City is full opportunities waiting for them.” Feb 06, 2024

  • Pharmacy Faculty Member Provides Oncology Expertise in Africa

    Diana Tamer worked with the African Access Initiative, which is targeting the cancer crisis in Africa
    For Diana Tamer, Pharm.D., oncology is a calling. What fuels her passion for treating cancer comes from diverse places – from her first oncology patient to the health-care workers she trained in the Ivory Coast. Her expertise in oncology pharmacy presented her with a unique opportunity last summer to train health-care workers in Africa through BIO Ventures for Global Health’s (BVGH) African Access Initiative. The initiative targets the growing cancer crisis in Africa by connecting international experts to health-care providers in Africa. By expanding access to provider expertise, the goal is to empower African health-care professionals to provide high-quality oncology care across the patient population.Tamer initially signed on to deliver an online lecture on oncology to health-care providers across Africa. As an expert in the field, creating an oncology lecture is old hat for her, but this particular training was a bit more complicated — it needed to be in French, the official language of several countries in Africa. Thankfully, Tamer grew up speaking French in her native country of Lebanon, but she hadn’t spoken the language regularly for many years. It would normally take her 20 hours to put together a new lecture. This ended up taking about 60.Although preparing the training would take a lot of work, Tamer had the full support of her colleagues in the Division of Pharmacy Practice and Administration. When she approached the chair of the department, Cameron Lindsey, Pharm.D., with the opportunity, Lindsey thought it was meant for Tamer.“The opportunity was perfectly matched for someone with Tamer’s expertise and her ability to communicate, coupled with her longstanding passion as an educator and pharmacist,” Lindsey said. “Her local and national impact on cancer prevention, screening and treatment is well known, and it enabled the training of so many people across the globe while elevating the health of patients in the region.”Nearly 150 health-care providers, including nurses, oncologists, physicians and pharmacists from 27 African countries attended the online lecture. Tamer’s lecture lasted an hour and 15 minutes, but she stayed on the call for another 90 minutes answering questions. “They were really thirsty for knowledge, and they really wanted to make a difference,” Tamer said. “When you see that as a professor, it makes you want to give even more.”In preparing for the lecture, Tamer began to see an alarming trend in these African countries that spoke to what she is passionate about in health care.“Cervical cancer rates are high in Africa,” Tamer said. “It’s killing a lot of women. Young women with kids and families —and it breaks my heart.”From that point forward, Tamer was all in. There was an in-person training already scheduled in the Ivory Coast in July 2023, and she wanted to help out. To make that happen, she cut short a vacation to Lebanon. “I am in academia because I feel that I can impact more cancer patients by passing on my knowledge to my students,” Tamer said. “I’ve always dreamt of helping places that lack access to high quality health care, so this was an opportunity of a lifetime. I was going to do everything to make it happen.”For the in-person training, Tamer worked for weeks in tandem with BVGH and a fellow oncology pharmacist in Canada, Charles Collin. The three worked together for weeks developing the specialized training. They went separately to the Ivory Coast, with Collin traveling to Africa first, and Tamer and the BVGH team arriving two weeks later. They communicated frequently during Collin’s time in the Ivory Coast, and soon realized their training would need to be drastically reworked.“As soon as Charles got on the ground, we realized what the situation was there,” Tamer said. “They wanted us to advance clinical pharmacy services, but basic pharmacy services needed to be developed first.”Over the next two weeks, she reworked the entire training to outline many of the best practices that are the norm in oncology pharmacy and infusion centers in the United States. From doctor-pharmacist communication to safety measures handling oncology medications, Tamer went over everything that health-care professionals expect in a modern clinical oncology pharmacy setting.Once she arrived in the Ivory Coast, she presented training to 20 health-care workers eight hours a day for three straight days.“I’ve never talked this long in my life,” Tamer said. “Typically, on the days I teach for a few hours at UMKC, I am wiped out for the rest of the day.”But Tamer was not done after the day-long training. Once she finished lecturing, she spent her evenings tweaking her teachings with things she learned that day. She toured facilities, including hospitals, cancer center and pharmacy. As time went on, the health-care providers started opening up to Tamer, providing her with a more complete picture of where their health-care system stands. On her last day, the doctors on site invited her to present her findings and outline how they could work at the government and hospital level to fill in the gaps they have compared to modern clinical pharmacy practice in countries like the United States. Tamer continues to work with the BVGH team to develop and complete a post-visit report exploring opportunities for improved oncology pharmacy services there as well as improved cancer patient treatments and outcomes. Tamer’s hard work is much appreciated by the health care workers who took her training, like Dr. Eunice Adouko, a pharmacist at the Alassane Ouattara National Radiotherapy Center in the Ivory Coast“BIO Ventures for Global Health’s oncology pharmacy training has been a high-quality initiative to improve the knowledge and skills of pharmacists, practitioners, technicians, and nurses in cancer centers,” Adouko said. “Thanks to Dr. Diana Tamer and Charles Collin, we now have excellent resources in terms of cancer treatment.”When Tamer began her oncology career at AdventHealth Shawnee Mission Cancer Center in 2017, her passion for the field took root with her first two patients. On her first day at the center, Tamer had two patients begin treatment for cervical cancer. The two women were in their early 30s, and Tamer developed a close bond with both. One of the women would go on to survive, but the second patient did not. Tamer treated the latter for four years, trying non-traditional clinical treatments and pushing to get her patient in sought-after clinical trials. This was at the height of the COVID pandemic when many health-care workers were under incredible stress.“Before she died, she told me, ‘Promise me you will never quit what you are doing, and you will continue to make a difference in people’s lives,’” Tamer said. “I did promise her that, and I told her that people like her make me want to continue doing what I’m doing despite all of the challenges. “And that’s what drove me to go to help in Africa as well.” Feb 05, 2024

  • UMKC Releases 2023 Fall Dean’s List

    More than 1,500 students recognized
    Here at UMKC, we understand that excellence takes time and energy. It requires commitment and tenacity to push through the harder times. During the Fall 2023 semester, 1,516 of our undergraduate and professional students made the dean’s list. This is an incredible academic accomplishment. Students must complete a minimum full-time program of 12 graded hours and meet their individual unit’s GPA threshold to qualify for the dean’s list. These students showed what it meant to take pride in their academic success. If you know someone who made the Fall 2023 list, make sure you congratulate their achievement! Below are the dean’s lists for the Fall 2023 semester. Conservatory Ciel BackusBrett BoyerIsabella BrownRiley BuckWilliam ClippardAurora ConroyNathan CoveyElsa DickersonFrancesca FarinaCameron GurssJackson HarrisonHadley JarvisGalen KroegerGrace LaughtonSantino LicameliAbby MauldinSarah McguyerZoe MeinsKendal MeyerMichelle NelsonChin NukulvutthiopasAshley NunezDavid OosseDillon PottsRozlynn RichertMicah Ruiz EsparzaHenry ScamurraEmily SchutzelWhitney SchweigerCrew ShaferMia SparksElla StottsThomas WelnickZach WestMaddie WilliamsBrady WolffManyi WuJohn Zhu Henry W. Bloch School of Management Sarah AbdelgaderSasha AhmadKaitlyn AllcornParker AllenKeilyn Alvarado-OrtegaSophia AmesBrenna ArmstrongJoshua AsfawLeena AssafCamden BakerRobin BaltersJack BeardDarren BemissIsrael BerhanuLessly BerriosAndrew BetzEzra BottsJulianne BromagenAubrey BrownJack ButtsMael CaissonMak CaldwellCarlos CamachoStefano CamerlengoAutumn CampbellJoel CamposJacobi CapletonJose CardosoChandler CarterBrianna CarterQuinn CavinHenry CharlesYan ChenXuyuzhi ChengOlga CherniavskaChris ChiSatori ClosserWen CloughMadi CochranBrevyn ColeMatthew CollingsBraeden ConnellyZach CoonCassidy CooperCaroline CooperBrie CoxZaylee CoxAllie CrawfordMackenzie CroleyAbby CrooksToby DaleyDaniel DavalosPaola DavisNicole DavisTarrin DeayonSarah DeckerSeth DenbowAshton DevinPardeep DhillonAdriana Diaz LeguilluKannon DillaboughKelvin DinhArnela DzilicGreta EbersoleAbbi EllermanClayton ErhardKendall ErnzenLuke FacinelliMesa FalleurMiguel Fernandez NovasSebastian FloresSydnee FlowersCaroline FoellerLuke FosterJesse FrazierFrancis Reynald GatdulaAki GebreFathi GeelleCelina GentaKiera GodseyBryson GoschJohn GosseBlane GrayDaniel GutgesellSaid HajiLily HayChris HayterMorgan HeimsothGriffin HerSophie HernandezDeya HernandezKenya Hernandez-LopezClaire HicksJosh HinkleLucero HinojosSophia HoKatie HollarJoshua HoodBryce HortLibby HortonXiaoyan HuKiki HuangCaleb HubertDavante HudsonJessica HuynhSeungwoo ImEmily ImesOlga IvanovaParker JohnsonLiam JoyceTyler KalmRirika KamimuraCiara KaneSarah KannenbergNavi KaurSukhmun KaurGrace KertzJackson KingEmma KratzSamuel KrauseAnna KruegerTaylor KvaleBrooklyn LammersShfeo LarJordan LaubLily LefferdKatie LemonIsaac LetschSophia LimongiWeijia LiuYijun LiuCyrus LoarHope LockeEmily LongEric LopezAdriana Lopez-JuradoBojia LuCassandra LudwigAvery MarsdenZoey MarshallMia Matthews-BeavenMorgan McginnisCharles McGrawLeah McIntyreMyles MeadJason MearsIvonee MejiaMcKenna MestasHunter MiesnerKai MillerAmber MillsHayden MitchellTiara MoraDonovan MurnieksShayla MurphyJami NaranjoMarissa NeuerAnthony NguyenKim NguyenVivian NguyenAnh NguyenJustin NguyenQuan NguyenRyan NguyenZach NicholsDylan O'BrienTengis OchirbatAndrew O'DellCameron OesterleNoelia OlivaresFernando OlivaresJavier Olivares BurgosJoshua OliverAlice OropezaMcKenna ParsonsDeesha PatelSahil PatelKrina PatelElyse PayneSydney PedersonSavannah PeisertMarlon Perez-MoralesMya PhamHuynh PhanTara PopeEthan PotterSarah PottsDunia QakeiCassandra QueralJose QuintanaKeenan RandolphChase RedingtonRuben ReyesRiley RhoadsMicaela RichardsGabby RiegelVanessa RomeroJessica RomeroJazmin RomoDevon RoweAndy Sanchez-ColatoAlex SantoroKevin SarmientoMaggie SchoemehlDaniel SchwallerAvari SchwenkRyan ScottRiLeigh ScottLiddy ScuratoJesse SerranoMizki ShireMaggie SilvyMags SimmonsGabrielle SimmsEve SkilesKaity SmithLexy SmithPhilip St. JohnEmily SteinbeckMiriya StilesEvan StonerKristen SwartsRaivion TaylorWhitney TaylorGavin TewErin ThessenSivkan ThindDrew ThompsonKaelyn ThompsonKyler TickleAnastassiya TimofeyevaMandy TranMae TuschmanBrooke TwaddleAlex UnsethStacia UtleySteven VuYue WangPaige WerremeyerTristin WhittonMarissa WilliamsLance WillyardBen WilsonEmma WoodTianzhao XuIvy YangGrace YuYing ZhuLauren Zoller School of Dentistry Ahmad AlhoutiAli AliMichael AllisonFares AlsafarNeil BoesCamden ChastainMegan DartDrake DuganGiovanni FerraroJason FirthShelbi FlahautIsabella FriemelThomas GareCasey GeddesMichael GimottyJackson GlynnSeth HofheinsNaima IbrahimChristopher JohnsonCole JohnsonTia KahwajiElizabeth KiefnerAnastasia KruegerPeyton KusgenKaylee KytasaariRobbie MauGabby MertzEthan NettlerAnh NguyenKylie NicholsMichelle PalmerK-Leigh PappasRiley PerelesQuinten ReasonerMatthew RodriguesKatie RoeAdam SattlerHailey SchlupAmy SchmiemeierHadley SchreinerMackenzie SimpsonLauren SlavensDiana StepanovaJustin SurberJaiden TaggartSaxon TeubnerJuliana TomitaJacob TrammellMatthew WahleClaire WaughEdward Wun School of Education, Social Work and Psychological Sciences Bahsan AbdiShams AlarthyElla AlexanderRayan Al-HamdiReena AlshalabiRosa Alvarado-RodriguezGenesis Amaro VenturaConnor AthearnMadison AtkinsIsabella BamnolkerAlyssa BarbeeAdelin BaynumCharlie BellAmna BilalElaina BlodgettJo BoosmanJaylie BuiJenna BulgerErica BurnettAlex BurneyLucy Cardenas VargasMargaret CarsonEileen ChangAngie ChavezMariah ChavezAva ChinnockEmily CollierRobin ConradKelsee CorbinPaige CorderoJaret CourterMartha DelatorreYico DengLaura DickinsonZach DomvilleMaleah DowntonEverett DufurKennedy DuncanAlex DunhamJennifer EnyeribeKatelyn ErceKimberly EscobedoOlivia FesslerCamille FryGio GiangrossoAlison GilbertSadie GilesGrace Gomez-PalacioNaomi GontermanAbby GuzmanEllie HackerMae'Kenya HallMyles HardyLydia HarterMayerli HerreraRaeli HowertonKatie HudsonJordan JacksonAmanda JamesAndria JersettNicholas JohnstonMattea JonesMya JonesSunita KalikoteCaroline KeithleyLyba KhawarMikaylah KingAbby LogsdonAlyssa LopezErin MagelJess MajhorGracie MalicoatNathan ManningKatherine MasonLaura McClaflinJamie McCleadHeather McCoyCheyenne McGaryBrianne McGovernMichael McGroskyKate McKownMaya MillerBrenna MorganConfi MuhozaAlex NelsonJessica NguyenAndra OkoyeSamantha PanznerLauren ParkerNatalie PeaceLily PriceRonnie QuickCurtis RadakovichRakiah RichardsonJacqueline RiveraAlanie RiveraValencia RodriguezAdeline RogersTara RossIsabella SalinasPaige SanfordCandy SarresAlyssa SchulzAmina ShahNeeti SiddiqueNoah SimsAdriana SpanglerAbigail SwansonAndrew TraceyAnnie TranLandrea Van MolMeaghan VandeheyGabi VandenburgEllery VaughnRah'ki WalkerLydia WeaverAdelaine WeidlerDallas WelchNoah WerremeyerSean WesselIsaia WilcoxenRenika WilliamsKy WilliamsGrace WilsonHenry Witt School of Humanities and Social Sciences Natalie AdermannAshley AllemannElizabeth AllenDanielle AltschulEsli Alvarado-IslasTaylor AndersonAlbania AndradeAshley AppleberryDaniela Arzabala LopezKaylee BaggerlyIsabella BakerAmelia BaldwinAndi BasaloKaya BeitzLogan BeltKashauna BerryKaitlyn BerryHeather BerryKayla BiggsEmily BlackMaisy BlantonMatt BollinTracey BradfordElyse BredfeldtMaddy BremerBridger BrockmanChanah BrownVictoria BrownSydney BrownKate BrummundGrace CarrYessica CasaresAugustine CaytonOlivia ChristensenJocelyn ClarkChristina CloughGrace CoganMorgan ColeMichael CollingsDestanie CollinsAbby ConnorSalome ConteronOlivia CottonJami CoxLuke CozadJay CravensDaze Creamer-EllecampPidge CrozierLilah Crum BarnhillAdelina CurielAaliyah DanielsLilith DavisAshley DavisStephanie DonovanPaul DurlandRachel EricksonAlexandrea ErismanViolet EsquivelLilly EstradaNoah FanslerMikayla FarageSam FaulhaberRae FellDaisy FergusonMachaela FordNicole ForysKelly FuentesLiliana GonzalezZachary GraggRebekah GrantDoris GravesOscar GrisNatalya GruzdAndy GuzmanYasmeen HanonHaylee HarrellIsabel HarrymanMichael HaynesGrace HeathLogan HendersonYency Hernandez-SanchezSarah HerndonMelissa HerreraKatarina HillBen HillearyLauren HirningSamuel HitchcockPhillip HoDavid HolmesPeyton HowardAmy HurleyEmily JacobsJustin JangFaduma JarikEmily JohnsonChance JohnsonSidney JohnsonParker JonesCerylean JonesDaniel JonesHugo Juarez AvalosLetty KaiserKat KalfayanTeayom KarimpourianKatelyn KaysCaiden KeenErynn KellGrant KendallSarah KirkMackenzie KlausJoshua KoopsMaddie KovarikSydney KramerLauren KreiselSara KronawitterJack KrzykowskiEliott LabethAdam LansdownJulien Le BourdoulousSam LendoHallie LewisBenjamin LewisRayvon LewisHannah LeyvaNoah LibowitzDayton LittleHennessey LopezEvie LozanoMaggie MaennerLauren MageeMayzie MangosLilah ManningScott ManuelGabby Marin CastanedaAlexandra MattssonCatie McArthurKiara McCreaFelicia McDonaldAli McKeeAubrionna MeadJuan MedranoNick MehnGeorge MendezItzel MendezEbele MgbemenaKale Marie MichaelGrace MillerWren MillerYasmina MokhtarCatherine MonaghanJose MontoyaKenney Monzon BrunoJay MooreMaddie MurphySamuel NagyAreeba NaseerJosie NewmanJessie NguyenJackson OgdenKanyon OlberdingMichelle Oliva-EspinosaAsh OnstottSarah ParkReece ParkerJordan PaxtonCaitlin PickertMegan PilegeElizabeth PorrittArthur QualmanTheo RaitzerJack ReavesAdam ReedCheyenne ReeseJacob ReevesManuel RiveraNovalee RiveraRogelio RodriguezJoslyn RossOlivia RubioBrooke RuppThessa RyanJoy RyanJouhel SalinasAbby SanduskyEmma SauerNeal SawyersEmma SaylerIsabelle SchroederAdriana SegovianoVictor SewankamboDelaney ShieldsKowthar ShireJoe SimmonsZa'Carriah SimmonsMolly SloanHarry Soper PlazaHenry SowellVincent SpriggsBenjamin SpringerReagan StarkAydan StiglerEvan StolbergPeyton StremmelJazlyn SummersTristan SupernawTennessee TaffnerHannah TawneyDa'Mya ThomasJulia ThompsonKimberly Torres-VelaSophia TrudeHannie TruongAllBright TunMichaela Vanden HullJacob VanzantCamille VerhoevenCatie WalkerAmber WaltersKeegan WatkinsAbigail WeilerDylan WelchElla WhitfieldSeneca WhortonAlexander WildtAbram WilliamsVictor WilliamsLainey WillisBrynn WinklerThistle WolfLeigh WoodyGrace WorkmanIsabella Yennie School of Law Kit AdderholtLoulya AlabedAllee ArmitageShep AronKelsy AustwickSidney Bach-NormanBailey BakerOlivia BanesJuliana BartoliAshley BartonMary BellRaef BellBekah BerardiCameron BerryOlivia Bess-RhodesOtto BoschReema BounajemBrent BoydJulia BreukelmanNaomi BuieEthan BureshKarima BurnsJason CantrellJosie CareyRachel CarrJohn CastelloAshley CerrentanoBrian ChristianAndrew ClarkPayton ClousePhilip ColeMakenna CopelandAshley CornishBobbie CrewTaylor CullenMegan CurrieSamantha CusumanoMegan DeanAlexus DeanTrinity DelaneyAlex DeLucaAlexis DennyEmily DesbienKendall DillonEmma Kate DillonSofia DominguezAnna DonaldsonJosie DostalJacques DoughertyChristopher DouglasMaria DunnYara DuranAlec EbersoleMatthew EblenErica EdmistenJacob EisenhauerJackson ElderWilson EllisLukas FieldsCarson FinkSamantha FisherMartina FloridoNatelee ForbesBrian FordLexie FoxJustice FrankeKit FrazenTaylor FreundKersten FrostDanny GamezJulie GastErika GreerMatthew GrimaldiLillian HallJakob HalphinSpencer HashagenCorbin HealyGrant HeimanCatherine HenneEmma HeroldLiam HeuselTorri HicksBen HobstetterHans HodesCliff HollyWyatt HoughGrant HouskeJulia HowellLukas HudsonAlison HuffMatthew HyattOlivia JabaleyKaylee JacobsonElizabeth JanneyTara JanowskiLogan JeffersNoah JohnsonNathan JohnsonJared JohnstoneIan JonesMargaret KellstromEmma KingCole KingsleyAlec KirwanKaren KutninkSalenna LaffoonShelbie LangfordNick LangsdaleJustin LarsonLauren LawsonJacob LeamonJilliane LewisSara LewisLauren LipariLilly LucasErin LynchMadeline MannBrad MatteuzziLauren McFailBruce Mena-SierraAlexandra MiddlecampKaleb MillerBailey MoffettAnna MooreBrett MordecaiMaureen MurphyHannah MurphyJacob NiemeyerKendal NilgesThomas NocitaSam NultonAustin OhnmeisAnnMarie OrlandoReid ParkerShivani PatelSamuel PetersonEmma PiazzaKirsten PintoAustin PolinaKaylee PopejoyLeslye QuintanillaAriel Nicole RecaldeJohn RellihanErin RichardsChance RiddleJessica RigbyAddison RockersChristopher RogersEmma RomanoMichael RoseTaylor RumseyDana SamaniegoClaire SchallenbergRhiannen SchneiderKloe SchnellRobert SchwindAshley SegniboMadelyn SeleyMadison SelfMargaret SelfJoel SenJarrett SextonAdina ShabazzOlga ShupyatskayaHaley SirokmanJoseph SkojacHelene SlinkerLiudmila SloanKyle SmithSage SmithCait SpackmanWill SpeidelAndrew StaffordJoseph SteinbacherNichole StewartKaylee StillieLaura StinglEllen StingleyColby StoneBenton StrongAnna Syptak-WelchMaxson TechauGabrielle ThurnMegan TiedeReece TreasureNika TsiklauriGiorgi TsivtsivadzeAnna VanBuskirkWilliam VanceElias VaoifiJohn ViewAlex VillalobosRobert WaldMatthew WalkerSeth WalkerStephanie WaxmanSamantha WhiteKyle WhiteBrennan WhittKevin WiseIan WisemanCalli WisemanThomas WolffBryce WolffRegan WoodKristin WoolumsConnor WorksWilliam Youngs School of Medicine Youssef AbouelelaMaanvi AggarwalLaila AlhajeriShayaan AnisTharika ArunkumarMeha AsirAnam AzimRiya BhatMira BhatiaAlex BoydEthan ChaShreya ChalapalliQasim ChohdryTochi EzeanolueMallory GardKeshav GhanekarEllie GiraDevan GirishMaddie GrimesShekhar GugnaniRayney HeldMarc HermanEvan HuangSarah IllimoottilMira IyerFahad JamalAJ JenkinsJulia JoseJeshna KaparthiAmanuel KifleSindhuja KudapaNeha KumarAnnalise LawlorLeo LiuKushi MadduruPriyanka MahadevGyan MalaniKenna MarlingGovind MenonAnthony MishrikyDaniel MoftakharYeanna MoonPhoebe MurphyCarla NemerEthan NguyenAratrika PalAarti PalaniappanRiya ParikhVani PatelRonit PatelMeirah PaulUma PillaiPrecious PlaisimeLeya PogueArushi RaiNeeti ReddyMuzzammil SalauJoel SetyaAnanya SharmaAhad SheikhNikitha ShethKoda ShivelyLiana StowellSid SuvarnaNatalie SwampillaiDiana TranEthan VillasenorCece WattsMarley WoodfordJames WorthamJustin WuGauri Yadav School of Nursing and Health Studies Yaretzy Aguirre CamachoFaduma AhmedHiba AlterjalliTheresa AlvarezKeeley AtkinTami AyegboBreegan BarnettJudy BattsElauni BennettAvery BradyCaroline BrandtAmelia BreuerMattea BrooksAnnMarie BucksbeeSkyler BurkeAlivia CalvertAlex CarreonKayla CoatesEmily CrainLydia CripeKoy CrockettMackenzie DaltonKayla DansbyKelsey DavisBrylee DierkingBree DowdyNouran ElhiweejLyric EwingNaomi EyanaghoNonso EzeTia FieldsFatima FierrosToni FraizerEllyssa GallingerKatelyn GendronCarly GillenRayna GivhanKatelyn GoochSophia GranthamLeah GreenwaldJuli GutierrezAshley HannersZahra HassanZowie HayesChloe HazzardHalle HeerenKatie HegerBritney HernandezVanessa Hernandez ValdezNatasha HillardCecelia HinesGlenne HinkleJohana Infante MaganaJonn JacksonEmily JacksonAnna JenningsLily JohnsonAislinn JorgeJalen JuanKayla JumpKali KahlerGabby KatzMeik KernsCamryn KorteAmber KwonMayson LaneTiri LaneyBridget LindKatelynne LittleAspen LivengoodDanielle MakaraMichael MaloneyJane MasseyKudzai MazhouRafia MehmoodAshley MillerCierra MitchellBrooke MuehlingBrianna MyersJoy NevarezNatalie NguyenKristina NguyenAshley NguyenChristine NguyenKatie NobleCrystal OdugweBritney OdugweAilin OrtizKimberly OstmannTaylor OswaldMadison PageBrittany ParkerDaevion ParkerKelly Perea InestrozaKassandra PerezEvonna PhelpsLexi PribylSydney RhodesJeffrey RodriguezSydney RogersShannon RoseEmina SarajlicOlivia SoursQuinn SpearAdreanna StarnesRiley StehlikKarsyn StehlikElizabeth SteppBrooke TannerSarah ThalkenJenny TranBethany VandenburgKadin VireCaden VoGrace WaldeierMaleah WestBailee WestonKamara Winda School of Pharmacy Brooke AtchisonSharon BaskaranKayla BondBryce BortkaMaddie EppleMarian FrizzellJoshua HendersonHaley HernandezVincent IrwinElla KemmMaya KivistoJaeni LeeBryce LucasPayton NeubauerTam NguyenHailey OeschJoseph SalazarSavannah SchludeRachel SkoskyJohn StriblingTraeten ThorellTommy TranWill WhiteLauren YoungbloodJefferson Zhong School of Science and Engineering Aymen AbboodSalma AbdelrahmanHashim AbdullaMohsen AbdulrahmanAnar AgayevAryan AhirHafsa AhmedRashid Al GhailaniSadia AlamSaleh AlameeriSuleyman AlasgarliAhmed AlbarwaniAmmar AlbeloushiLulu AldarweeshKalkidan AlemayehuHanna AlemuFahad AlfarhanSulaiman AlhammadiAbdulrahman AlhammadiMohammed AlharbiEkram AliHamad AlkhameesMouada AllanAbdulwahab AlmatouqCarlos Alonzo CordonYousef AlqallafNadeen AlsalmanAli AlsulaimanMeshari AlsuwaidanKhaled AlthunayanBrandon Alvarez De La CruzDivenderjit Amarjit SinghErica AmelunkeEmma AngleAbrahim AnsariNicolas AponteHalena Aquino-DunkinSami ArcherJeremiah ArthurKatrina AsistidoJamileh AssafIbrahim AssafKali AughinbaughBenny AulnerKeeli AustinJeremiah BaezaErin BakerJosh BalinoDylan BallLaith BanyalmarjehDrew BarcelonaKailynn BarntJadyn BauerLucy BeckenbachLuke BeckerAaron BeckmanYeabsira BelaynehTrevor BellClay BelzAmgad BenkhadraSarah BensahriSalma BensahriLogan BeshearsEthan BessetteMeghana BhumireddyAlex BiglerMikenna BirdEmma BjornstadRobert BlackburnTessa BlytheMaggie BoleyElizabeth BondKate BoosmanAiman BoullaouzRyann BowmanWyatt BoydGrace BrandnerMary BreauDylan BrollSharli BrownJasmine BrownJennifer BrownBela BrowningBraunson BrownsbergerChamberlain BrownsbergerRiley BruceJulia BrunoJaden BruscatoZaina BsataLindsey BuehlerJessica BurkhartJack BurnosAnna BurnsKayla BushartKaitie ButlerMarcus ButlerKyle ButlerSamuel BuxtonCooper BuzbeeYuqing CaiLilyan CalandrinoJuan CalderonLupe Campos-SotoOlivia CarlsonAustin CassDonovan CastanedaKristine Isha CastilloJosh CastroNoah ChapmanJessica ChaseXingyu ChenYumiko ChenBetelhem CherieMichael ChiPaul ChmelirBrandon ChongIteara ChristianCatherine ChrobakGrace ChurchCameron CiancioloCody ClarkEmily ClarkBrayden ClarkConnor ClarkMichael ClaussLexi CliftMarissa ColmarRiley ConnorsBridgit ConwayCitlalinzi Cortes TorresKarina CoxSarah CrawfordJarod CriderPrincess CullomAndrew CustisJacob CutlerMuzan DaffaallahMohammed DaghmoushMichael D'AgostinoEthan DangLily DangGrace DangAbdulaziz DarweeshAustin DavidCaitlyn DavisNicholas de RaadRJ DedertTim DeGraffenreidSheyda DehghaniKopelyn DeLongNoah DevlinAissatou DialloGaby Diaz LeguilluJohnny DiepSeth DinslageHaindavi DirisalaLydie DjibaKhoa DoLan DoAnh DoanBrock DobbieAleigha DollensPorter DombrowskiMika DonelsonAbigail DotyDakota DouglasLogan DudleyKaia DunfordBrian DuongMichael DurandSilas DuvallMason EarlyReed EasonRayaan EkilahMohamed ElgasimNaomi EmersonJoe EppersonEuropa EstabrookMichael FamurewaLauren FergusonChristina ForbesDavid ForsonKylan FosterSymone FranksMichael FrazierDylan FrazierKevin FrazierConner FreeoufAlejandra Frias FraireNolan FroeseHenry FrommerPeyton FryNicholas GaitanPavan GantaWilliam GarayChad GardnerSai Charan GarrepallyLauren GarrettJay GaskellRediet GebreJosh GehrMatthew GerstnerAlex GhasemiGianna GiarraputoSirat GillAmber GillaniJeffrey GillumCesar GinerMary GipsonDiego GiraldoKyle GoodmanBrandon GouvionLance GrabmillerJackson GrantSophie GreenSam GriffinSeth GrishamAutumn GuptaPhan HaTrey HallAmanda HammStephen HangeJosh HarraldBethany HartNathaniel HartmanAlina HasanRuweyda HassanDominic HeaterMackenzie HebererRoe HendricksJohnny HeosSam HermanSelena HerreraCassie HerringBrooke HigginsMason HilgenkampCassidy HillBenjamin HillRegina HoKevin HoNgocTien HoangTrenton HoeflickerIzzy HogelinTanner HoilandKona HudsonTimothy HuffAndy HumphreyCollin HunterThomas HusmannDaniel HuynhChristine HwangGavin HystenAisha IbitoyeAbram InmanAhpelonia IoanisMaisha IslamHiba IssawiLillie JacobsDania JacubMorgan JamesGuntas JammuHanan JanJocelyn Jarquin GarciaMohammad JarradTerrence JayJudah JerlsGrayson JohnstonKevin JonesJuliana JosephJessica JosephDaniel JumpTyler KaiserGouri KallanagowdarTyler KaminskiLillian KamlerEkjoatroop KaurAidan KaysDavid KeltnerSydney KennedyCharles KeysJack KeysWaleed KhaleelRahhaf KhalilShree KhambekarAamna KhanSean KhanWei Shen KhooSydney KingGabe KingdonAubry KleinsorgeMary KleneCarolyn KnappMadison KoesterAnton KoleciKevna KonduruSai Lakshmi KotaBrylie KovarGabriel KribbsMatthew KunkleMaddie KunzJack KurtzThao LamMichaell (Michelle) LarkinAnthony LeThien Phu LeAlicia LeKim LeAusten LeckbeeDavid LeeMick LeinbachSomark LenkaTroy LeonardCat LewinBrett LewisJohn-Charles Lile-HenleyDevin LinMatt LindboeJordan LindererOlivia LittleBishop LohmanMakayla LongEstrella LopezNatalia LopezDaniel LoveAlex LyAliyah LyonsLisa MachLuke MalcomAtlas MallamsSavanah ManionEvan MarleyGrace MarquardtCorey MarrsSidney MartinYasamin MashayekhiZavier MattsonAleena MazharJosh McAnerneyAmaya McBrideTrinity McCannIsabelle McCarthyMichael McCormackEvan McDanielMike McDonoughClayton McGinnisNicholas MckenzieKayla McKnightGrace McKownSamantha MedleyFinn MeggittHamza MehidiVanessa MenzAva MetcalfBethlehem MezemirBryce MillerEthan MillerBrooks MillerMadyson MinkerSalman MirzaMadison MitchellNina MitchellJaxen MitchellDevin ModdeGenova MongaloKaylee Monroy RiverosMaddie MooreLuke MooreKatelyn MooreElizabeth MooreTrenton MooseMariana MoralesBerenice Moreno-PerezPeter MorganRaine MorriganAidan MorrisKegan MorrowDenny MosbyXander MosleyNina MruckovskiFardowsa MuhumedBree MurphySeven MurrayJames MyersTrevon MyersKyle NaluanShriya NandakumarEmily NatanovaBen NelsonBroden NestlerTaylor NevezMinh NgoAmy NgoQuynh NguyenDanny NguyenCadao NguyenTri NguyenEthan NguyenHailey NguyenDuy NguyenDuc NguyenDylan NguyenScott NguyenKira NixonBrendon NixonAslonjon NosirovShelby O'BanionBridget O'BrienJake OBryanAbby O'DonnellJonathon OdumDiamond OgunsijiMumiye Olatunde-SalawuSemire Olatunde-SalawuCaden OllarIan O'NealWilliam OpsahlDylan OrpinIsa Ortiz-AcostaZachary OsmanovicGunner PaceSara PaceNick PadillaNicholas PageSaniya PanditaSui ParJazmin ParraCahaya PasekAna PastoraYagna PatelAarohi PatelElena PayneGarrett PazderaSara PetropoulosHallee PhamJason PhanJahnavi PingaliOliver PowellAdam PowersEden PradoGeorge ProkopWylie PutnamDiana RamirezAbril RayoAlexis ReedThomas ReillyAlondra ReyesJessica RiceKaitlyn RichmondLexi RickerParker RobinsonElle RobinsonGray RobisonLanden RobyJacob RodriguezLuis RodriguezChris RodriguezViger RomoIan RowseAly RubleKenna RyalsPetrea RyanAhmed SalousJeremy SanchezLuis SanchezDori SandritterPreston SantoSofia SarrisRoman SchellhaseGalen SchickRowan SchmidliEvan SchoorAvri SchultzCarson SchultzJaylee SchulzCarter ScobeySam ScottCatherine SegoviaMahnoor ShahidQuinten ShanksLee ShaverAnna ShawAustin ShiltJacob ShipmanCalvin ShuckWilliam SikorskiJaylen SinclairNiketa SinghAtlas SizemoreClayton SlonikerSebastian SmithLarry SmithHayden SmithBrady SmithElliott SmithKatie SmithNate SmithAlessandra SmithAdam SolimaniNithin SongalaRichard SorianoKatie SpaldingJames SparksLily StedmanTom SteinmanRylan SteppPeter SternMatthew StubblefieldDenis SumarokovChristian SuttonMadison SweeneyAatif SyedEd SzczukaHannah TaiAlex TangEmelin TapiaJordan TarantoA Chao ThaoMarcus ThimeschSirisha Reddy ThimmareddyMya ThomasSam ThompsonDiyana TialNatalie TillTuana TinaztepeEmra TmusicLindsy ToddMichelle TranMichelle TranAnh Thu TranJayden TranEmma TroutTaylor TrudellYen TruongPhi TruongAmy TsaiNoah TurnerEmma TurnerMadison TwiteLauren UkenaAaron UptonHannah UrquillaNathan VanzeylIris VazquezLarry VeulemanMichael ViermannChris ViermannIsadora VillanuevaPhuc VoKevin VoBrian VoHalley VogtsHay WahAdam WaldrenMarshall WalkerGriffin WalshStephen WangNicholas WardChris WardGabi WatkinsNoah WatkinsAshton WeeksCaden WehnerJayden WehrJacob WeidleApollos WeissenfluhJailyn WendtKimora WhetstoneKatherine WhiteMeghan WhiteKai WhiteBailey WhithausDylan WicklundIsaac WilliamsCole WilsonBraden WittLondon WittharReese WoodJulia WoodsIsaac WoodwardGabriel WorcesterJacob XayaphetAlexander YarsulikAlice ZhaoPresley Ziegenbein University College Monica AguilarDaisy AmparanAdelle BakerSonja BleierMaggie BuchananGrace ClarkPayton Crump-McHughElla Davis-StilesKiran DeolMathew DrinkhouseAnthony EppelheimerChris FullerAilyn GonzalezKenia HerreraCelina HoKian Hunt-EspinoAnevay MartzCrystal NguyenMichelle OgazAlejandro PizanoTori PolandOmar RadoncicCarson RocheKarla Romero-ArellanoAshley RosalesAnthony RuizSophy SaykallyIsaac ScottJade SotoTwyla ThomasFinley WaldrenChristopher WalkerKamari WatkinsBrant Wilson If a student’s name does not appear on the list, please direct questions to the appropriate school or college. Feb 05, 2024

  • This Child Psychologist is Breaking Through Adversity Walls

    Erin Hambrick is changing the way we understand childhood trauma
    Did you know people can experience growth after traumatic events? Erin Hambrick, Ph.D., is looking into how people have the ability go through trauma at a young age and all come out with different responses.  Last year, Hambrick’s work was chosen among hundreds of articles, and she was selected to be an inaugural speaker at Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) Aware to discuss her paper. The ACEs Aware initiative is a first-in-the nation effort to screen patients for Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) to help improve and save lives. What is your area of expertise? I’m a clinical child psychologist. I specialize in children’s exposure to adversity; specifically, how the timing, nature and severity of the negative experience can affect their development throughout the lifespan. I also study how positive experiences can be used to intervene and help children resume a more positive developmental trajectory. What is the focus of your research? My lab really zeroes in on how we can use what we know about what happened to a kid to inform how we might intervene. Some of what we do is longitudinal studies, where we’ll look and see what happened to kids and how it affects their long-term experience. We also work with therapeutic preschools and community-based agencies, to assess life experiences that kids have had. We help them understand what to expect in terms of how long treatments take, particularly what social supports and protective factors we really need to shore up for the child before we might expect the interventions to begin working. What led you to this field of study? Early in my study, I was really interested in the way people had the ability to experience hardship and get through it. Why is it that some people can go through really extreme circumstances and either come out okay, or even exhibit some growth? We obviously know that adversity and trauma can lead to many negative outcomes that we want to prevent, but it doesn’t always do that. So, I’ve been very interested in why is it that we have this differential response, and how we can learn more about it so that we can help more people get through traumas and adversities. What is your research paper about? An open question for some time has been the relative impact of when adversity happens during a child’s development. I think for a long time we really haven’t appreciated that severe, chronic and unrelenting stress even during the first few months of life is not only impactful but might be more impactful than stressors or experiences later. So, this paper was perhaps the first to show that chronic and unrelenting exposure to adversity during the first two months of life have a more pervasive and negative impact on children’s developmental trajectories than adverse experiences later in life. What do you wish more people know about your research? To me the number one message is how powerful, positive early life relationships can set children up for success. The most exciting part is that we are talking about stuff everyone can do. We’re talking about feeding a baby when its hungry, regulating a baby’s temperature and smiling at a baby when it wakes up. However, we probably will need some systems changed, to make those basic realities available to all children. I wish people knew just how important those early moments are but also just how capable we are as a society in doing what it takes to give kids a positive start. Why is your research important to understand? The reason why early exposure to extreme stress and relational poverty is so impactful is how fast our brains are developing in response to our environment in those early days. Our very first experiences set our neural “templates” for the way the world works. If we are bathed in stress in our early days, then our stress responses strengthen and grow while the parts of our brain that help us grow and develop are kind of put on hold. Therefore, with early life adversity and relational poverty, we often see global deficits in sensory processing, cogitation, self-regulation, other relational skills and more. Feb 01, 2024

  • Academy Award Winner Gives Martin Luther King Jr. Lecture

    Kevin Willmott shares earlier history of ‘Becoming Martin’
    Academy Award winner Kevin Willmott was the guest speaker for this year’s Martin Luther King Jr. Lecture. Willmott, the writer of critically acclaimed films such as “CSA: The Confederate States of America,” “Chi-Raq” and “BlacKKKlansman,” spoke about how a young sociology student would become the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Tamara Falicov, dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, was excited to welcome back her long-time colleague for the 15th instance of this annual campus event. “Kevin is an inspired filmmaker, with a collaborative spirit and dedication to this region,” Falicov said. Based on the research conducted for his play “Becoming Martin,” Willmott shared the little-told history of King as a college student and the people around him, especially the minister Benjamin Mays and King’s own father, who inspired him to create a legacy that has inspired so many others. “Anybody who achieves anything, it’s always about the people who helped you along the way,” Willmott said. Students across UMKC came out to hear Willmott speak. “I had heard of him as a filmmaker,” said Elliott Smith, an urban planning and economics student. “It’s great how he extrapolated the history to reflect the culture of the time and made it relatable.” “I was impacted, as a younger listener, how he compared the tragedies of the 60s to modern tragedies we have experienced in our time,” said Taylor Trudell, a student in environmental science“The examples really put it all in perspective for how to get stuff done.” The full lecture is available to watch online. Jan 29, 2024

  • Chiefs Partnership Gives UMKC Students a Backstage Pass to Champion Team’s Front Office

    Stadium tours, job shadowing and leadership lunches are among the unique opportunities
    Trying on Super Bowl rings and standing on the sidelines of GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. This is a day in the life of a UMKC student with the university’s new partnership with the Kansas City Chiefs.  The partnership is focused on opportunities for students to learn from the Chiefs front office staff. During the first five months of the five-year partnership, students have attended several leadership lunches and a shadowing day at the Chiefs training facility. Also as part of the partnership, scholarships, internships and fellowships will be available exclusively to UMKC students. Students attending the leadership lunches and shadowing day have learned from a number of Chiefs staff members, including the chief financial officer, vice president of accounting, project director of manufacturing, engineering, plumbing and construction, vice president of player services and assessment, director of player engagement and more. “We’re giving an opportunity for students to understand all the different lines of work we do here and skillsets that our employees have,” said Kim Hobbs, Chiefs Vice President of Partnership Strategy and Development. Student groups First Gen Roo, Professional Career Escalators and Men of Color Academy attended leadership lunches both on the UMKC campus and the Chiefs practice facility. Men of Color Academy is a cohort-based program that encourages academic achievement, leadership and personal growth. Program director JaVon Hill says that this partnership is a game-changer for students.“This dynamic partnership between UMKC and the Chiefs unlocks a world of possibilities for our students,” Hill said. “They are fortunate to be part of this unique relationship that will open doors to unparalleled access and networks, serve as a direct launchpad for empowerment, spark inspiration and fuel innovation all at the same time.”Students in the Professional Career Escalators program have benefited from these open doors, literally, with a shadowing day spent at the Chiefs practice facility and GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. Students in this program – which emphasizes professional experiences in the health-care, education, business, engineering, law and justice fields – had unparalleled access to top-level staff members. Much of their time was spent in small groups with staff members to learn about their jobs and career fields and make valuable connections.Juan Owens attended the shadowing day just before graduating from UMKC with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. He spent the day with Shaun Tyrance, Ph.D., vice president of player services and assessment. In his role, Tyrance focuses on all aspects of behavioral health, wellness and performance psychology for all club employees, including players, coaches and staff. Owens said that the opportunity to talk with Tyrance was invaluable to his own career aspirations. Graduate school may be in Owens’ future, and he credits the shadowing day with helping define what that may look like.“I got to learn what exactly it is to be a sports psychologist,” Owens said. “I understand more what it takes to be that person and what I can do in my own community. Where I come from, there’s not a lot of resources, so this opportunity means a lot.”Beyond spending time with Chiefs’ front-office staff, the students enjoyed a behind-the-scenes stadium tour and learned about the history of the organization and the Hunt family. The opportunity to spend time at a world-championship organization is a lesson in success.“This opportunity to really engage with front-office leadership, learn about their career trajectories and connect with our students is powerful,” said Mako Miller, director of the Professional Career Escalators program. “Having such a recognized organization interact with our students in various ways shows a commitment to their career and leadership development. The Chiefs are providing this “behind-the-scenes” look at how an entity like a professional sports team operates and all that it takes to have a successful team.” Jan 25, 2024

  • UMKC Alumni Award Winner Turns Class Project into Community Organization

    Henry Wash shares the impact his mentors had on him, and how he started High Aspirations
    Each year, the UMKC Alumni Association recognizes outstanding alumni achievements with an awards celebration. Henry Wash (B.A., M.P.A) is the Class of 2024 Defying the Odds Award recipient. Wash is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of High Aspirations (HA) and served as a mentor and board member of HA from 2003 to 2013. He has over 26 years of expertise in designing, implementing and evaluating programming for at-risk populations. Wash’s educational accomplishments include an associate degree in applied science, associate degree in arts, bachelor’s in sociology, minor in Black studies and Master of Public Administration in urban affairs. He overcame his circumstances in large part due to the mentoring he received from two prominent Kansas Citians, Henry W. Bloch and Thurman N. Mitchell, KCTV5. These two mentors have helped Wash identify his purpose in life. This led Wash to pursue his vision of making an impact on the Kansas City community, especially for young men. Wash is a current board member of Caring for Kids, Children’s Campus KCK, KC Common Good and Hawthorn Foundation. What was the inspiration for High Aspirations? HA was one of my research projects while attending the UMKC Henry W. Bloch School of Management in 2003. It was founded on evidence-based peer reviewed and empirical research from various backgrounds such as public administration, anthropology, sociology, higher education, psychology, Black studies and business. I walked away from a profession in the freight world to pursue my true calling in 2013 and have not looked back since. Today, we have the first mentoring campus for African American men in Kansas City. Our vision is to help make the world a better place. How did UMKC prepare you for or contribute to your success? I would not be where I am today without UMKC. My education gave me the foundation to gain experience and become the Henry Wash I am today. What advice do you have for students who would like to follow in your footsteps? Take your time. It has taken me 20 years. The sooner you pursue the purpose in your life, the better you’ll be. Jan 25, 2024

  • What Your Zodiac Sign Says About the Best Place to Hang Out on Campus

    It’s written in the stars… and across the UMKC campus
    Ever wondered where you are destined to spend time on campus? Look no further. Here’s a list of the zodiac signs as UMKC spots. Aries: Swinney Recreation Center | March 21-April 19 Energetic and competitive, Aries are bound to feel fired-up after a workout at Swinney Recreation Center. The fire sign will also feel right at home with the sauna and steam room facilities. Taurus: UMKC Dining Hall | April 20-May 20 Tauruses are known for enjoying the finer things in life, including food, environments and people. The UMKC Dining Hall encompasses all the above with its vast dining space and various food options. Gemini: University Playhouse | May 21-June 20 The University Playhouse is home to lots of on-campus events, where Geminis will be able to express their sociable nature. Plus, the faces on each side of the building represent a Gemini’s intrinsic duality nature. Cancer: Haag Hall | June 21-July 22 Cancers are known for being sentimental. A lover of history, they’ll especially appreciate the history behind the Don Quixote mural located in Haag Hall. Leo: Student Union | July 23-Aug. 22 Always craving attention, a Leo is bound to run into someone they know at one of the busiest spots on campus. Ruled by the sun, Leos will also be pleased at the opportunity to bask in the sunlight at the Student Union rooftop. Virgo: Miller Nichols Library and Learning Center | Aug 23.-Sept. 22 Ruled by Mercury, the planet of communication, it is only fitting for Virgos to be assigned the Miller Nichols Library. With four floors of varying noise levels, at least one floor is bound to meet their high standards. Libra: The Quad (Blue and Gold Chairs) | Sept 23.- Oct. 22 The balanced nature of libra loves the quad, especially due to its convenient location to most classrooms and lecture halls. The blue and gold chairs also provide the sign known for being great conversationalists the perfect spot to chat with friends in between classes. Scorpio: Diastole Scholars’ Center | Oct 23.-Nov. 21 Tucked away in the corner of the UMKC Hospital Hill Campus, the Diastole Scholars’ Center is as secretive as a Scorpio. Their mysterious aura pairs perfectly with the Diastole Scholars’ Center’s  academia-inspired setting. Sagittarius: Innovation Studio | Nov. 22-Dec. 21 The sign known for loving adventures will be able to escape reality at the Innovation Studio. From the AR/VR lab to the flight simulator, they will be able to indulge their free-spirited nature. Capricorn: Atterbury Student Success Center | Dec. 22-Jan. 19 Known for being one of the most hardworking signs, Capricorns will be able to sharpen their academic skills at the Atterbury Student Success Center. Also known for being practical, they’ll be pleased at the various food and drink options available here, perfect for snacking in between study breaks. Aquarius: James C. Olson Performing Arts Center | Jan. 20-Feb. 18 The James C. Olson Performing Arts Center offers various performances throughout the year, and at least one of them is bound meet an Aquarius’ eclectic and abstract taste. Pisces: Warko Observatory | Feb 19.-March 20 Pisces will be able to Indulge their escapist nature with stargazing at the Warko Observatory. The sign known for being more on the introverted sign will be pleased at the opportunity to recharge their social battery at this quaint spot. Jan 17, 2024

  • UMKC School of Law Recognized for Value, Programs

    PreLaw magazine recognizes five programs for excellence
    The UMKC School of Law was named a Best Value Law School by PreLaw magazine. Additionally, PreLaw recognized the law school as having five top programs: family law, trial advocacy, technology law, business law and tax law. Schools recognized for being a Best Value Law School have favorable employment rates, bar passage rates and overall cost of attendance. “Our goal isn’t to get our students to graduation, it’s to prepare them for everything that comes after that,” Lumen Mulligan, dean of UMKC School of Law said. “Providing value to our students means giving them the tools to pass the bar exam and have a successful career in law while trying to remove as many financial barriers as possible. Programs such as our new, all-inclusive bar prep program support success for all students, regardless of financial circumstances.” This recognition isn’t just a point of pride. Breana Boger, director of admissions for the UMKC School of Law, says that these rankings are important to future law students when making the decision where to attend school. “These rankings help communicate the caliber of our programs and success of our students,” Boger said. “It helps prospective students paint the picture for their own future success.” The university’s location in the heart of Kansas City provides UMKC law students with numerous opportunities to get practical experience before graduation, including clerkships with judges, opportunities with federal and state government agencies, and internships with private law practices and organizations. Additionally, the law school operates several clinics, which give students experience and provide low-cost services to the community. Clinics include the Child and Family Law Clinic, Taxpayer Assistance Clinic, Expungement Clinic and Taxpayers Assistance Clinic. That practical experience is just one of the reasons the UMKC School of Law was recognized as a top school for many of its programs. Students interested in family law, trial advocacy, technology law, business law or tax law will find valuable opportunities to learn both in and out of the classroom. “We have outstanding faculty who are leaders in their fields and many alumni who come back to share their knowledge with students,” Mulligan said. “No matter what area of law a student wants to practice, they’ll find opportunities to learn and a community who wants to support them.” Jan 16, 2024

  • UMKC Nursing Student Has a Passion to Serve the Underserved

    Tatyana Charles sought a second degree after finding her calling
    In her clinical rotations at University Health, nursing student Tatyana Charles (B.H.S. '21) gets to practice exactly what she set out to do when she decided to pursue a nursing career. “I feel grateful that I'm able to take care of my patients in their most vulnerable state to make them smile and take care of their immediate needs,” Charles said. As a Kansas City native, Charles always knew she wanted to help her hometown neighbors. When she first came to the University of Missouri-Kansas City, that looked a little different. Charles pursued a bachelor’s degree in health sciences with plans to pursue a career in health administration. She later learned that her passion lied elsewhere.“I soon realized that I loved patient interaction and patient engagement, so I then chose to pursue nursing,” Charles said. She chose to remain at UMKC for her second degree because of the nursing program graduates’ high passage rate on the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCLEX-RN) exam. More than 98% of UMKC nursing students passed the board exam in 2022. Charles also felt confident that she would be supported because of the positive experience she had in the health sciences program. Now Charles is working on post-surgical care rotation at University Health, an academic medical center dedicated to providing health care to the Kansas City community, both for those with insurance and without. She plans to pursue a career as an emergency room nurse after graduation, and feels certain of her skills. “I feel well prepared,” she said. “Our faculty teaches us what to expect and what abnormally can happen and what to do next.” Working at a mission-driven hospital like University Health is the perfect fit for Charles, who not only wants to care for patients, but also wants to be an advocate for them and help them find ongoing resources to help them. “I tell people all the time that I have a passion to serve the underserved,” Charles said. “I want to be able to give knowledge to the local resources here in Kansas City to help the lower economic population.” Jan 09, 2024

  • UMKC Pharmacy Students Win National Competition

    Three UMKC Pharmacy students beat out more than 100 teams to win top title.
    Fourth-year School of Pharmacy students Hannah Kempker, Claire Vogl and Rylee Pitts have been hard at work since September preparing and competing in the American College of Clinical Pharmacy’s 2023 ACCP Clinical Pharmacy Challenge. The competition spanned several months with multiple rounds and culminated in UMKC going head-to-head with the University of Arkansas in the championship round in Dallas, Texas. After a tight race, UMKC won on the final question and took home $1,500 in prize money and a commemorative trophy. Known for its “quiz-bowl” style, the challenge included rounds featuring general pharmacy trivia, a clinical case study and final jeopardy. Teams began their journey with virtual rounds, and only the top eight travelled to Dallas to compete during the annual ACCP Conference in November. Once there, the competition heated up. Teams were expected to answer questions quickly, using a buzzer and going head to head. “Online versus in-person rounds are a different game,” Kempker said. “Online rounds you have more time to think critically and reason through a question. In person, you have to rely on all knowledge from didactic coursework and rotations to quickly come up with an answer and stick with it.” No stone was left unturned by the team during preparation for the competition, and it was an all-hands-on-deck effort. “Generally, we looked through the ACCP pocket guide, the APhA review book and our old pharmacotherapy notes,” Vogl said. “We also tried to look at specific jeopardy categories as the rounds progressed, focusing on categories we hadn’t seen yet to prepare for the next round.” Kempker added, “I think the biggest thing we did to prepare was to talk aloud our strategy.” The three students keyed in on their blind spots and worked to fill in any gaps in expertise to be as prepared as possible. “Because we are all close, we also know each other’s tendencies and hesitations, so that helped when we moved into the live buzzer rounds,” Vogl said. “One person might buzz for the other because we knew they might be more hesitant.” Elizabeth Englin Pharm.D., served as the faculty mentor and traveled with the team to the Dallas competition rounds. “It was so fun to watch them, and they were so strategic in their play,” Englin said. “You could tell that they were friends, and they work so well as a team…They’re just wonderful students all around.” After the competition, Englin reflected on the high level of sportsmanship the team possessed. “They did really well with the other teams,” she said. “They were congratulating, wishing luck and really got to connect with the other schools.” The competition is just a feather in the cap of the students, who in their final year of pharmacy school are preparing for what’s next. “I felt pharmacy gave me the best opportunity to combine my desire to impact others with a career that aligned with my personal interests and curiosity,” Pitts said. Dec 20, 2023

  • Fifteen Students Named Dean of Students Honor Recipients

    Graduating students are recognized for their outstanding academics, leadership and service
    Fifteen UMKC students have been named Dean of Students Honor Recipients in recognition of their accomplishments on campus and in the community. Every semester, exceptional graduating students are honored with this designation. These students maintain excellent academic standards while actively participating in university activities and community service outside of the classroom. The Fall 2023 honorees’ accomplishments include helping international students settle into the university life, volunteering with the families of homicide victims, organizing a conference celebrating the LGBTQIA+ community, working on the Lucerna research journal, volunteering with Operation Breakthrough and more. “These students embody what it means to be a Roo with their dedication to academics, service and community," said Michele D. Smith, Ph.D., vice provost for student affairs and dean of students. “I am thrilled to recognize them for their many accomplishments and look forward to the bright futures ahead of them.” Students shared reflections on their time at UMKC at a special breakfast celebration in their honor. Some excerpts: Emma Sauer: “As a transfer student, I’ve only spent two years at UMKC, but my experience has shaped who I am. My time here has exposed me to all kinds of people, ideas and perspectives I would never have found anywhere else and really inspired me to take a more active role in my local community.” Matthew Grimaldi: “My time at UMKC has been truly memorable, and as a Kansas City native, the best part has been experiencing the school’s connection with the surrounding community. During my time here, I’ve been able to intern with a federal judge, work with underserved clients and meet with prospective students. UMKC is more than just a place of higher education, it is a community institution.” Paige Lyell: “UMKC has given me the gift of a lifetime – not only has the university provided me with an amazing education, but it also gave me some of the best years of my life. I feel honored to forever be a part of such an inclusive and compassionate group of people. I leave here with a stronger sense of community, respect and integrity.” Congratulations to the Fall 2023 Dean of Students Honor Recipients! Scott Cameron, School of Humanities and Social Sciences Paige Eickhoff, School of Medicine Alejandra Frias-Fraire, School of Science and Engineering Matthew Grimaldi, School of Law Natasha Hillard, School of Nursing and Health Studies Mufrad Islam, School of Science and Engineering Mustavi Islam, School of Science and Engineering Marco Loaiza, School of Humanities and Social Sciences Paige Lyell, School of Medicine Marisa McKay, School of Humanities and Social Sciences Elliot Mejia, Bloch School of Management Jonah Petitjean, School of Humanities and Social Sciences Emma Sauer, School of Humanities and Social Sciences Olga Shupyatskaya , School of Law Ben Wilson, Bloch School of Management Dec 19, 2023

  • Donation Process During UMKC Campus Closure

    Here's how to give during winter break
    While the UMKC campus is closed during Winter Break, Monday, Dec. 25 through Monday, Jan. 1, it's still easy to make a year-end gift by observing the following guidelines. Gift timing is essential to ensure receipt of tax credit for the 2023 calendar year for your donation; please reference the guidelines for specific gift types below. If you need assistance with your donation, please get in touch with Jenny Akhtar at 816-780-9151. Give now by credit card Donation by Checks Envelope MUST be postmarked prior to Dec. 31, 2023. If the envelope received is postmarked after Dec. 31, it will be counted as a 2024 gift. Donors should send their checks to the address below: UMKC Foundation Office of Gift Processing202 Administrative Center5115 Oak StreetKansas City, MO 64112 Checks dated prior to Dec. 31, along with postmarked envelopes, should be received by UMKC Foundation Gift Processing staff on or before Friday, Jan. 12, 2024. Gifts received after that point will not automatically be included in processing for the annual tax receipt. Donations by Stock or Mutual Funds Please get in touch with Tram Nguyen at for the transfer form and DTC instructions. Stock gifts must be received into the account on or before Dec. 29 to be reflected in the 2023 tax period, per the IRS. Stock gifts will require the donor's name, number of shares, security, expected date of transfer, and gift intention area. Donors must send information via email to Tram Nguyen at Liquidation of the Stock gifts cannot be completed until confirmation of this information is received. Mutual funds take an additional 3-5+ business days before posting to our account. Donors, please advise brokers to initiate mutual fund transfers before Dec. 21. Regular equity stock takes 24 hours to post to our account. Donations by Credit Cards Ways to donate using a credit card: Our website, UMKC Foundation, where donations will be processed through midnight, Dec 31. All donor gifts processed through our website will be reflected in the donor's 2023 giving year totals. Contact our staff in Gift Processing at 816-780-9151 during regular business hours through the end of the year, including the winter break. Mail: Credit Cards by mail MUST be received no later than noon Dec 29, for processing. ** We cannot guarantee mail delivery will meet the required deadline; for more reliable processing, we ask all donors to either call the number listed for Gift Processing Staff or to use our website. Contacts and Staff Availability The Gift Processing Staff will be available by phone at 816-780-9151 to accept credit card gifts and to answer all inquiries about year-end gifts during regular business hours through the end of the year, including during the winter break. The UMKC Foundation Office will be closed during the winter break. Should you have any inquiries during that time, please call 816-235-5778, and someone will return your call. For help with stock gifts or wire transfers, contact Tram Nguyen at Dec 19, 2023

  • Top 10 Photos of 2023

    Visuals that capture the year
    UMKC photographers Brandon Parigo and Patrick Oliverio captured many moments on and off campus this year. They selected a few of their favorite images that show what it looks like to be part of Kansas City's university. Union Station was illuminated Roo blue and gold for UMKC Engagement Month in October. | Photo by Brandon Parigo, UMKC Conservatory Professor JoDee Davis stands in the middle of her students at the UMKC Trombone Studio. | Photo by Patrick Oliverio, UMKC Dancers perform at Crescendo, the UMKC Conservatory signature event held annually at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. It raises funds for student scholarships. | Photo by Brandon Parigo, UMKC The Roo statue in silhouette on the UMKC Volker Campus. | Photo by Brandon Parigo, UMKC UMKC cheering at a soccer game. Roo up! | Photo by Patrick Oliverio, UMKC Making a splash at the Swinney Center pool. | Photo by Brandon Parigo, UMKC Durwood Stadium at dusk during a soccer game at Welcome Week. | Photo by Brandon Parigo, UMKC I (heart) UMKC always. | Photo by Brandon Parigo, UMKC Streamers and confetti help celebrate graduates at Spring Commencement at the T-Mobile Center. | Photo by Brandon Parigo, UMKC   Dec 19, 2023

  • Triple Threat: Three Sets of Twins Competing as UMKC Student-Athletes

    Seeing double on the court and track
    Last year, 3,664,292 people were born. It’s estimated just 3 percent of those born were twins. So it’s safe to say giving birth to twins is rare. What’s even more rare is three sets of twins ending up on the same college campus as student-athletes. Right now at UMKC, there are roughly 220 student-athletes competing on various teams. Among them are six twins who make up just 2 percent of that total. For Precious and Promise Idiaru, Elauni and Emani Bennett, and Jack and Bret Beard, UMKC always felt like the right place to be. “Being so close to home is one of the main reasons we chose UMKC,” said freshman Emani Bennett. “Our high school teammates, high school coaches and AAU coaches still get to come and see us play.” Elauni and Emani BennettFreshmen | UMKC Women’s Basketball If you’re in need of a quick way to tell these two apart, just look at their jump shot. “I’m a lefty and Emani’s a righty,” said Elauni Bennett. The two freshmen guards didn’t have to travel far to join the UMKC women’s basketball team. Just seven months removed from their high school graduation at Lee’s Summit North, these young student-athletes are already adjusted to college life. It’s something they attribute to having each other. “Coming into college is an adjustment for all freshmen, but we have each other so it makes it a lot easier,” Elauni said Off the court, the Bennetts bring impressive high school resumes with them to UMKC and despite being identical twins, the two sisters have different interests when it comes to their education. “We’re different in a lot of ways, and that’s something our coach was big on is celebrating our individuality,” said Emani. Emani is majoring in psychology, while Elauni plans to pursue a future in health sciences. Precious and Promise IdiaruSophomores | UMKC Men’s Basketball Unlike the Bennett twins, Precious and Promise traveled a long way to land on the UMKC men’s basketball team: 4,743 miles, to be exact. The brothers call Speyer, Germany, home just an hour south of Frankfurt, but being in the U.S. is nothing new to them. The Idiaru brothers came to the U.S. as high schoolers, competing in Los Angeles,. "Precious and Promise were available late in the recruiting process, which ended up being a huge plus for Kansas City Basketball,” said head coach Marvin Menzies. “The twins are very high in character and in talent.” Now in their second season with the Roos, both Precious and Promise say there have been challenges being twins on a new team. “The coaches had trouble telling us apart,” said Promise. “To make it easier on them we decided that Precious would start wearing a headband.” Even with their headband idea, it wasn’t an instant fix. “There was an incident last year at LSU where the coaches had difficulties telling us apart even with the headband and accidentally kept yelling out the wrong names to each twin.” While telling them apart on the court may be difficult for new eyes, things might be easier for their UMKC professors. Like the Bennett sisters, Precious and Promise have chosen different paths for their education. Precious intends to study nutrition, while Promise has his sights set on a career in business and marketing. Jack and Bret BeardSophomores | UMKC Track and Field Blink and you might miss this set of twins. Jack and Bret Beard are coming off a successful freshmen season at UMKC, one in which they both made strong showings at the Summit League Championships. Being a college athlete also runs in the family. Their father was an All-American kicker at Friends University. Their older brother Braedan played Division I soccer at both Creighton and Drake Universities. Like the Bennett sisters, Jack and Bret are competing for UMKC with a hometown crowd nearby. The Olathe Northwest graduates say their decision to come to UMKC can be attributed to the coaching staff, led by head coach Benaud Shirley, and being close to family. "I love that my parents are able to come and support us and watch us compete," said Jack. "It gives us added motivation when they are at our meets." When it comes to identifying them on the track, Bret says there is still the occasional confusion among their coaches. Whether they get mixed up or not, Bret admits it's special being able to compete alongside his brother. "We don’t always compete in the same event but when we do I love being able to compete alongside my brother because we are creating life long memories together." Both Beards are studying business administration at the Henry W. Bloch School of Management. Dec 18, 2023

  • Top 10 Stories of 2023

    A groundbreaking year filled with excitement and many firsts for the university
    The year 2023 saw rapid growth for Kansas City and its university. UMKC continues to reach new heights as an institution of higher education. With our students, faculty and staff at the forefront of our accomplishments in deep partnership with the community, it has never been a more exciting time to be a Roo. Here are the Top 10 stories of 2023 at UMKC. Roos in Flight: UMKC Community Involved in Creation of New Airport Terminal In February, the new KCI Airport terminal opened to travelers and UMKC students, alumni and faculty helped make it happen. Together, Roos from communication, design, engineering, consulting and art backgrounds were involved throughout the largest infrastructure project in the history of the city. UMKC Student Opportunities with the Kansas City Chiefs UMKC announced that it is an official higher education partner of the Kansas City Chiefs, the 2022 World Champions. The five-year partnership between UMKC and the Kansas City Chiefs focuses on student success and recruitment efforts. Opportunities for UMKC students include scholarships as well as leadership, mentorship and career-shadowing within the Chiefs organization. Events for prospective students include stadium tours and other programs. Revealing the Future of the UMKC Health Sciences District  The university revealed the design of its largest capital investment to date: the $120 million Healthcare Delivery and Innovation Building. With key funding from the state of Missouri and visionary Kansas City donors, the building will enable the university to provide state-of-the-art education, find newer and better ways to serve patients in need, strengthen collaborations with surrounding neighborhoods and facilitate greater interdisciplinary partnerships to fuel innovation and research. UMKC Announces $10 Million Transportation Grant During Pete Buttigieg Visit U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg visited UMKC to discuss a new $10 million federal grant awarded to the School of Science and Engineering to develop innovative approaches to improve the sustainability and equity of transportation infrastructure. UMKC was among 20 selected from 169 universities to lead Tier 1 University Transportation Centers for underserved and disadvantaged populations. Greater Kansas City and Missouri Named Tech Hubs  The U.S. Economic Development Administration has named the KC region and Missouri “Tech Hubs” as part of a historic investment to strengthen the U.S. economy and national security - and UMKC played a significant role in this recognition. "The new Tech Hubs designation provides great scope for innovation in Kansas City – and I can envision all the groundbreaking advancements to come as our UMKC students, faculty and staff work in collaboration with the many fantastic organizations in the greater Kansas City area," said UMKC Chancellor Mauli Agrawal. "We at UMKC could not be more excited." UMKC is Now a First Scholars Institution! This new designation from the NASPA Center for First-Generation Student Success recognizes our efforts in supporting students with programs such as First Gen Roo Scholars. About half our students are first-generation students, and those who participate in the program have higher GPAs and are more likely to complete their degree than those who don't take part.  New UMKC School of Medicine Building Will Transform Health-Care Access in Missouri UMKC broke ground on a new $14.5 million medical building for the School of Medicine campus in St. Joseph. With nearly half of rural counties in Missouri lacking adequate health-care access, this 22,000-square-foot building will transform access by training future health care providers who are committed to rural medicine, supporting research and providing care to people in St. Joseph and the surrounding area. UMKC Divine Nine Garden Deepens Community Connections UMKC paid tribute to the contributions and presence of the Divine Nine fraternities and sororities with a ceremonial unveiling in the heart of campus. Hundreds of people from across the Kansas City region representing the Divine Nine Black Greek organizations that make up the National Pan-Hellenic Council gathered to celebrate. What Do UMKC and the Kansas City Zoo Have in Common? Kangaroos UMKC and the Kansas City Zoo & Aquarium announced a five-year partnership centered around their shared love of kangaroos. The relationship between the two Kansas City institutions dates back almost 90 years. Next time you find yourself at the zoo, venture into the Australia section to learn how the Roo came to be the mascot of UMKC.   Taylor Swift Eras Tour is Part of This UMKC Dance Alum's Resume It's definitely been the year of T Swift, and Conservatory alumnus Kameron Saunders has enjoyed the excitement. He had the chance to "make the whole place shimmer" in Kansas City as a backup dancer on the Eras tour with Taylor Swift. Although originally from St. Louis, Saunders considers Kansas City a second home. Dec 16, 2023

  • UMKC Celebrates 2023 Mid-Year Graduates

    Kansas City’s university held its annual Mid-Year Commencement at the T-Mobile Center in downtown Kansas City
    UMKC graduates and their loved ones filled the T-Mobile Center as more than 1,000 degrees were conferred. “I know you are a remarkable group of people,” said Chancellor Mauli Agrawal. “I am proud to be here today to celebrate this momentous occasion with you.” UMKC alumna Esther George (MBA ’00) was the keynote speaker. George was the first woman president and chief executive officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. “Keep learning and remember this, the degree UMKC is about to confer upon you today does not represent what you know, but what you are capable of learning,” George said. “Let curiosity lead you to places of knowledge that you might not have considered.” Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas also addressed the graduates, encouraging them to push through challenges many face in their careers and in life. “I know as you’ve gone through your journey many things have changed, but you have persevered,” Lucas said. “Be ambitious, courageous and bold…You should continuously strive to be famously excellent in all you do.”Following the addresses, the graduates were recognized and the Class of 2023 moved their tassels from the right to the left side of their caps, symbolizing their status as graduates. The celebration concluded with confetti, streamers and sparklers.   Dec 15, 2023

  • Kansas City Current Announces Groundbreaking Higher Education Partnership with University of Missouri-Kansas City

    Kansas City’s university will provide undergraduate and graduate opportunities to Current players
    The Kansas City Current announces a multi-year partnership with the University of Missouri-Kansas City as the Official Higher Education Partner, beginning in the 2024 NWSL preseason. UMKC will provide first-of-its-kind undergraduate and graduate opportunities to players actively on the Current roster. The Current will provide player and coach mentorship as well as access to Current facilities for preseason training and a match. “We are so thrilled to announce this new partnership with UMKC,” said Current co-owner Angie Long. “We want to provide every opportunity to our players to continue their higher education. We think this relationship will present groundbreaking opportunities and educational access for our athletes as well as the Roos scholar-athletes. We are proud to partner with UMKC and eager to provide a unique education opportunity that can complement the demanding schedules of our professional athletes as they build the skills they need to succeed off the pitch.” This partnership focuses on elevating education on multiple levels. UMKC will provide educational opportunities for KC Current athletes through its robust academic programs. The Current will use its platform to elevate UMKC and its women’s soccer program, allowing scholar-athletes to connect with KC Current players for leadership and mentorship. The Roos will host one pre-season and one regular season match at the Sports Complex in Riverside, Missouri on the Championship Field in 2024. UMKC will also be able to share the excitement of KC Current soccer on campus, when it brings its Teal Mobile takeovers to students, with team spirit and merch opportunities. “Kansas City’s groundbreaking team is partnering with Kansas City’s groundbreaking university,” said UMKC Chancellor Mauli Agrawal, Ph.D. “Both of our institutions are breaking barriers and we intend to keep breaking them.” The Kansas City Current announced plans for the first stadium purpose-built for a professional women’s soccer team with expected completion in 2024. | Photo courtesy of the Current.   UMKC has a host of unique programs to elevate students across various professions. UMKC’s top-ranked School of Medicine innovated a combined six-year B.A./M.D. program, different from the traditional eight-year program. UMKC founded Supplemental Instruction, a peer-tutoring system now used at hundreds of colleges around the world because it boosts letter grades and retains students through reinforced learning. Just this month, the NASPA Center for First-Generation Student Success designated UMKC a First Scholars Institution, recognizing the university’s unique methods of helping first-generation students succeed in college, earning higher GPAs and retention rates when compared with their peers. The UMKC Division I Athletics program is also exceptional, with students exceling on and off the field. Players on the women’s soccer team have a cumulative 3.63 GPA. This year, the Summit League recognized Roos Women’s Soccer Coach Jess Smith as its Coach of the Year. Smith also is a coach for the KC Current Summer Camp. “We are fortunate and grateful to partner with the KC Current organization,” said Brandon Martin, Ph.D., UMKC vice chancellor and director of Athletics. “Our mission, goals and priorities are aligned, and we look forward to immediate championship-level synergy. This partnership not only elevates our women’s soccer program but propels our effort to advance Kansas City.”  Roos Women's Soccer Coach Jess Smith won the Summit League Coach of the Year. | Photo courtesy of UMKC Athletics.   These two groundbreaking Kansas City institutions share other deep connections. UMKC alumni serve as top KC Current leaders: Monica Ngo as Vice President of Human Resources for the Current and Maggie Walters as General Counsel. UMKC faculty Meg Gibson, M.D., is a physician for the Current. Current founders and co-owners Angie Long and Chris Long were named Kansas City Entrepreneurs of the Year by UMKC for their leadership roles at Palmer Square Capital Management and their work with the Current, two powerful platforms that are leading the way in making positive change on a global basis. It’s that worldwide emphasis that also makes this partnership groundbreaking in nature. UMKC attracts students from more than 75 countries and the Current’s fanbase spans the globe. The Current roster features international players from France, Canada, Sweden, Brazil and Denmark. Kansas City’s university and the Current align in their missions to be the best in the world while also being pillars of the Kansas City community. Crowds line up for the KC Current's Teal Mobile for team spirit and merch. | Photo courtesy of KC Current   About the Kansas City Current Founded in December 2020, the Kansas City Current is led by the ownership group of Angie Long, Chris Long, Brittany Mahomes and Patrick Mahomes. The team competes in the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL). The Kansas City Current announced plans for the first stadium purpose-built for a professional women’s soccer team with expected completion in 2024. To receive periodic updates on the new Kansas City Current Stadium at Berkley Riverfront Park, visit here to sign up for more information or to stay connected. About the University of Missouri-Kansas City The University of Missouri-Kansas City is a public research university with more than 15,300 students and more than 125 academic programs. Its two main campuses are in the heart of Kansas City, providing students with unparalleled access to jobs and internships. UMKC is dedicated to providing a quality education to everyone with one of the largest percentages of Pell-Grant-eligible students in the nation and in-state tuition scholarships to students in all 50 states. Dec 13, 2023

  • Starlight Internship Starts UMKC Conservatory Student Off on a High Note

    Kansas City’s outdoor/indoor performing arts venue was the opening number for a career in arts marketing
    Roslinde Rivera has been going to Starlight since she was a child, but now her view of the stage is a little different. Rivera, who is pursuing her MBA and graduate certificates in performance and performing arts management, was a marketing intern for Starlight. Rivera was interested in arts administration and knew the UMKC performance arts management certificate would be a perfect fit for her career goals. When she met with faculty member Lisa Anderson Bongers, they narrowed down Rivera’s focus to find an internship to jumpstart her career path.“I’m interested in marketing and development, so we had a conversation about what places would be best for me to start in marketing,” Rivera said. “When Starlight came up on that list, I was very interested.”“Having that connection to Starlight and able to come back to a place I love, that was really important to me,” Rivera said. Working at Starlight gave Rivera the opportunity to hone her marketing skills in a supportive environment. She put together press kits, wrote blog posts, managed social media and worked with outside partners. “One thing that I always look for in a workplace is great community,” Rivera said. “Being at Starlight has really shown me what a good community looks like in how people treated each other.”Starlight is a natural fit for Rivera, a singer and performer. Rivera knew her hometown had endless opportunities, both as a student and beyond.“Being able to go to a local university that has so many connections is incredible,” Rivera said. “Kansas City has so many opportunities, and I don’t think a lot of people realize the connections, especially if you’re wanting to go and perform.” “There are people in all different paths of life and they’re all working toward something,” Rivera said. “If you’re starting out and you’re terrified and you don’t know what to do, you have people that you can look up to. And I think that’s just really invaluable.” Dec 05, 2023

  • Entrepreneur of the Year Awards Honor Visionary Leaders who Transform Businesses in KC and Around the Globe  

    Sports are a common thread and include KC Current and Chicken N Pickle
    Five game-changing entrepreneurs were awarded during the Henry W. Bloch School of Management Regnier Institute’s 37th annual Entrepreneur of the Year Awards. Started in 1985, the event celebrates the contributions of entrepreneurs in Kansas City and beyond by recognizing the work of students as well as local, national and global-industry entrepreneurs and leaders.  This year’s event was held at the H&R Block headquarters - the industry-shaping business entrepreneurs Henry Bloch and his brother, Richard Bloch, founded. Prior to the awards ceremony, attendees learned about business ventures by students from Bloch and the Kansas City Art Institute at the Student Venture Showcase. “Their dedication and passion is truly inspiring,” said UMKC Chancellor Mauli Agrawal. “Celebrating risk takers and innovators is one of the reasons I look forward to this event.” The 2023 awardees: Henry W. Bloch International Entrepreneur of the Year and Entrepreneur Hall of Fame Inductee Marcelo Claure, Founder and CEO of Claure Group and Founder of Brightstar Claure is a global entrepreneur and the founder and CEO of Claure Group, a multi-billion-dollar global investment firm. He is a well-known entrepreneur and operator after building Brightstar from a small local distributor to the world’s largest global wireless distribution and services company.  As an investor, Claure was also the CEO of SoftBank Group International where he launched SoftBank’s $8 billion Latin America Funds and had direct oversight for SoftBank's operating companies like ARM, SB Energy, WeWork and others. Claure also helped orchestrate Sprint's $195 billion merger with T-Mobile, creating what is now one of the most valuable telecommunications companies in the world. "The journey of an entrepreneur is never a straight line," said Claure, who delievered remarks via video. "My goal is to continue innovating, lead with integrity and inspire future entrepreneurs." Claure owns Club Bolívar, Bolivia's largest professional soccer team, and is a co-owner of Spain's Girona FC, in partnership with City Football Group. Claure was inducted into the Entrepreneur Hall of Fame. Located on the main level of the UMKC Bloch Executive Hall for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, the hall of fame gives students and the community a peek inside the journeys of Kansas City’s entrepreneurial stars. The dedicated gallery space was the vision of Joe and Judy Roetheli, creators of Greenies dog treats. Their goal is to honor entrepreneurs and inspire students. Exhibits of the hall include an interactive touchscreen featuring inductee biographies, artifacts from their lives and words of inspiration from the entrepreneurs themselves. Kansas City Entrepreneurs of the Year Chris Long, Founder of Palmer Square Capital Management Angie Long, Chief Investment Officer of Palmer Square Capital Management Chris Long founded Palmer Square Capital Management, an approximately $27 billion asset manager focused on corporate and structured credit with offices in Kansas City and London, in June 2009. Currently, he serves as chairman, CEO and portfolio manager. He serves on the Board of Directors of the KC Sports Commission and Greater Kansas City Community Foundation and in many roles related to Princeton University.  Angie Long is chief investment officer and one of two principal owners for Palmer Square Capital Management. Her career includes experience at JPMorgan Chase & Co. where she was named a managing director at age 29 and held many senior roles. She serves on the Board of Directors of Union Station as well as the KC 2026 World Cup Board. She is a member of the 100 Women in Finance and is a CFA charter holder. Along with co-owner Brittany Mahomes, the Longs brought a National Women’s Soccer League franchise back to Kansas City. The Kansas City Current has built the only training facility in the world with a women’s professional team as the sole tenant. They are also building the world’s first stadium devoted to a women’s professional soccer team. "We get to lead two amazing organizations - both of which have powerful platforms to be a positive force on a global basis," the Longs said at the event. "It is a privilege we do not take lightly. We are fortunate to work with some of the most talented, passionate people in both the investment world and the sports business. Together, and as a result of the hard work, innovation and leadership of these organizations, it is exciting to look at the impact." Marion and John Kreamer Award for Social Entrepreneurship David Johnson, Founder of Chicken N Pickle and CEO of Maxus Realty Trust Johnson had already founded and developed a successful real estate management company when he created Chicken N Pickle in 2017. The concept burst onto the scene, and now has eight venues open, with seven more announced across several states. Community engagement is at the core of the Chicken N Pickle culture, with programs that provide strong support for 2,029 charitable organizations in the surrounding areas where each of the Chicken N Pickle locations are based. Extra money is raised for charities through their cup sales, and more than $100,000 was donated just through those extra dollars to support the community. "My team embraces the community everywhere they go, and they deserve all the credit," Johnson said. "We've found that by doing good, good things happen to us." Johnson is currently on the board of Verimore Bank, KC Crime Commission, MU Dean’s Board and Kansas City Chamber of Commerce. Student Entrepreneur of the Year Lesly Romo Romo is a business administration student and bilingual real estate professional. Over the past year, she has achieved more than $2 million in sales and possesses a comprehensive understanding of the real estate industry. Currently, Romo holds the role of vice president of projects for UMKC Enactus, where she takes the helm of multiple innovative initiatives that leverage social entrepreneurship to drive meaningful change.    Romo is working to establish a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting financial literacy in the Hispanic community. She is also looking to construct a multifaceted soccer facility. The aim is to create an inclusive space for soccer enthusiasts of all backgrounds.  "This serves as a commitment to turn my wildest dreams into action," Romo said."We will unite people through their love of soccer as they come to Kansas City for the World Cup (in 2026)."  All proceeds from the 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. Dec 01, 2023

  • Top 5 Things You Should Know About Changes to the FAFSA

    The new process will make the form simpler, more streamlined
    The U.S. Department of Education is making changes to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which students should fill out each year. The changes are the result of the FAFSA Simplification Act. Here are the top five things you need to know about the change. 1. The FAFSA will be available later than usual. The FAFSA forms are typically available Oct. 1 of each year. This year, they will be available later than that. The Department of Education has announced the application is expected to be open by Dec. 31.Every student should fill out the FAFSA every year. UMKC students should file by the April 1 priority deadline to increase their chances of receiving grants and scholarships. 2. Your parent or spouse will need their own login. Spouses and parents who provide information in the FAFSA will be called contributors. They’ll also be required to create their own logins. If your parent or spouse will be a contributor, encourage them to create an ID now to ensure they’re able to fill out their portion of your FAFSA quickly. 3. The application will have fewer questions. The updated FAFSA is much shorter and can pull information directly from your income tax return. To pull from your income tax return, you’ll need to consent via your FSA ID. If you do not have an FSA ID, you can create one now so you’re ready when the FAFSA is available. Other helpful information to gather includes: Legal Name Date of birth Social security number (if applicable) Mailing address Email address Note the UMKC FAFSA code: 002518 4. The new form uses different terminology. The 2024-25 form has new terminology that may replace older terms you’re familiar with. Notably, the Student Aid Index (SAI) will replace the term “Expected Family Contribution” (EFC). This term refers to a student’s approximate financial resources available to contribute to their education. 5. The change will expand access to federal Pell Grants. More students will be eligible for Pell Grants. Eligibility will be linked to family size and the federal poverty level. Nov 21, 2023

  • UMKC School of Medicine Recognized for Excellence in Diversity for Second Year in a Row

    The school received the award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine
    The University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine has received the 2023 Health Professionals Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine.  In a letter to 2023 winners, INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine said the school’s efforts "significantly advance" the core values of diversity, equity and inclusion as evidenced through mentoring, teaching, research, hiring and promotion, recruitment, retention and many other campus priorities deserving of this national recognition. "As an institution we continue to strive to create a learning and clinical environment that is diverse, equitable and inclusive to all graduate and medical students, residents, fellows, staff and faculty members,” said Tyler Smith, M.D., M.P.H., associate dean of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. “These core values guide the School of Medicine’s Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. While managing the evolving landscape of diversity, equity, and inclusion in higher education, UMKC SOM continues to uphold the vision, mission, goals and values in place since the institution’s founding.”  The school has introduced the next generation of providers to DEI values through strategic initiatives and leadership that champions the success of all students, including its anti-racism and cultural bias program that prepares medical students for a career where these principles are incorporated. Students complete this program before going through clinical rotations, helping to ensure that all students are giving the highest level of care from day one. Other School of Medicine initiatives — such as specialized care for students at academic risk, the Multicultural Advisory Committee of Students and the Summer Success Seminar Series — provide opportunities for future medical providers.  “I am so proud of our incredible faculty, staff and students who work tirelessly to expand the DEI work that our medical school takes such great pride in," said Mary Anne Jackson, M.D., dean of the School of Medicine. "A lot of that work includes recruiting and retaining students from different backgrounds who share different beliefs, attitudes and experiences. This is especially important, because as our students graduate and join the health-care team, we know a more diverse workforce promotes better care for diverse populations. It improves access, quality of care and health outcomes.” This is not the first time that UMKC has been recognized for its DEI efforts. INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine also recognized the School of Medicine with the award in 2022 and 2018.  Nov 15, 2023

  • This UMKC Alumna Was the First Woman to Lead the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City

    Esther George’s (MBA ’00) journey is one marked by leadership, accomplishment and breaking glass ceilings.
    In 2011, she became the first woman president and chief executive officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. For more than 10 years, George led a workforce of 2,100 Federal Reserve employees serving seven states from the bank’s headquarters in Kansas City. She had a major influence on our nation’s banking system, and was actively involved in the Federal Reserve’s work to ensure the smooth and efficient functioning of the nation’s payment system, including leading the effort to establish instant retail payments known as the FedNow Service. “Great cities have great universities, and I see Kansas City as poised to build on its momentum with UMKC at its center.” — Esther George (MBA ’00), retired president and CEO of the Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank But before all of that, she was a student at the UMKC Henry W. Bloch School of Management, a choice she credits with preparing her for the role.“Education is such an important investment, and I consider UMKC and the Bloch School as playing a key role in my leadership development that ultimately led to my appointment as president and CEO of the Kansas City Fed,” George said. George enrolled at the Bloch school as a full-time employee and mother to two young children. Being able to go to a renowned institution that fit into her life was a key part of her decision of where to receive her master’s degree.“The proximity of the master’s program at the Bloch School and the quality of the curriculum made it a perfect choice,” George said. George said she made faculty connections at UMKC that have lasted throughout her career, and that she even keeps in touch with some today. “Their enthusiasm for the subjects they taught was infectious and effective,” George said.George said the impact of connecting has been impactful for her career, and advised future female leaders to look for people who can help them grow. “As women invest in their education and pursue a given career path, it can be helpful to rely on mentors,” George said. “I benefited from looking to people with more experience, with different experiences to help me think about my personal effectiveness.” A Kansas City leader, George serves on the boards of the Hallmark Corporation, the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, the Peterson Institute for International Economics and the Kansas City 2026 World Cup. Nov 15, 2023

  • UMKC Awarded $4 Million in Federal, Kauffman Foundation Grants to Grow Digital Health

    Partners include BioNexus KC, KC Digital Drive and Pipeline Entrepreneurs
    The University of Missouri-Kansas City was awarded a $2 million Build to Scale grant along with partners BioNexus KC, KC Digital Drive and Pipeline Entrepreneurs to advance Digital Health KC from the Economic Development Administration. The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation will match the award, totaling $4 million, to build upon existing digital health strengths in the KC region. Digital Health KC will create ideal conditions for a vibrant ecosystem, catalyze collaboration and connect critical elements such as ideas, talent, companies, capital and customers. This funding will fuel Digital Health KC to support health-care technology entrepreneurs, foster innovation, build and strengthen the region’s talent pool and inspire economic growth.  “Our ecosystem is rich in talent and ideas but requires additional financial and industry-specific support," said Dick Flanigan, CEO of Digital Health KC. "Solving health care’s most significant challenges involves people, processes and technology, all aligned to provide solutions. Digital health offerings are among the most promising solutions seeking to improve access and quality while addressing the ever-increasing cost of care. This grant will increase our resources for funding, mentorship, connectivity and guidance to attract and grow companies in the KC region.”  Over the next three years, Digital Health KC and partners will advance early-stage digital health companies with programming to increase understanding of the unique aspects of building health-care solutions, executing a go-to-market plan and identifying and providing industry-specific mentors and business acumen support.  This investment will result in more than 20 new startups for a regional total of 120+ companies, 15 completed beta customer projects, $45 million in debt and equity investment and 500 new jobs for the KC region.   “Ecosystem building is a team sport, and it starts with community organizations uniting for a common purpose – to build a thriving digital health network with intentionality,” said Maria Meyers, executive director of the UMKC Innovation Center. “We are pleased to partner and grateful to the Kauffman Foundation for providing needed matching funds to bring this federal investment to the region. Our collective commitment to digital health will catapult the KC region and profoundly impact our community.”  Initially funded by the Patterson Family Foundation, Digital Health KC was launched in March 2023 by BioNexus KC, a life-sciences nonprofit creating opportunities at the nexus of human and animal health. UMKC is a BioNexus KC stakeholder. The community heavily supported the EDA Build to Scale proposal, including industry, health-care providers and payers, investors, economic development organizations, workforce, government and nonprofit organizations in the KC region.  Nov 14, 2023

  • UMKC Alumnus Named Dean of School of Medicine

    Alexander Norbash has a background in research and health-care collaboration
    Alumnus Alexander Norbash, M.D., M.S., FACR, has been named the new dean of the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine. He will begin March 11. Norbash will be coming from the University of California San Diego (UCSD) where he serves as chair and professor of radiology at the School of Medicine. His personal and professional experiences uniquely position him to lead the School of Medicine during this time of rapid advancement in the health-care enterprise at UMKC. “I am thrilled to be returning to my hometown of Kansas City and my alma mater where I received an innovative and exceptional medical education at the UMKC School of Medicine,” Norbash said. “It is an exciting time for the school and the UMKC Health Sciences District, and I hope to enhance and contribute to UMKC’s upward trajectory. We commit to educating our future health-care leaders, fostering and implementing advances in clinical care, facilitating research and discovery, with the goal of creating great outcomes in our service to the community.” Prior to UCSD, Norbash held multiple academic and leadership appointments, including at Stanford University School of Medicine, Harvard University School of Medicine and Boston University School of Medicine. Norbash grew up in Platte City, the son of a rural doctor. He discovered the innovative UMKC School of Medicine and graduated in 1986 from the combined six-year B.A./M.D. program. From there he went on to further training in radiology and embarked on a career rich in clinical work, research and innovation. Along the way, he received a master’s degree in health-care management from the Harvard School of Public Health in 2004 and combined his clinical and research acumen to drive excellence, innovation and collaboration at top universities and hospitals across the country. “Dr. Norbash has the ideal set of work and life experiences to help UMKC achieve its vision of continued excellence for our School of Medicine and growing our UMKC Health Sciences district into a preeminent academic medical center,” said UMKC Chancellor Mauli Agrawal, Ph.D. “He represents two passions that have been the hallmarks of our healthcare tradition at UMKC – pursuing equitable health care for all and harnessing innovation and technology to improve medical care. Those traits in him will be important assets in his new role.” The School of Medicine is expanding in profound ways, both in medical education and the research enterprise and also in its physical footprint with a $120 million Healthcare Delivery and Innovation Building set to break ground in 2024 and a new $14.5 million medical education building underway on its St. Joseph campus. “While interviewing Dr. Norbash, it became clear that he will bring an abundance of new ideas and experiences to propel the work being done at the School of Medicine,” said UMKC Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Jenny Lundgren, Ph.D. He will succeed Dean Mary Anne Jackson, M.D., another proud UMKC School of Medicine alum, who just this past month won national honors with the Association of American Medical Colleges Spencer Foreman Award for Outstanding Community Engagement. Jackson will continue as a faculty member and as a special advisor to the Chancellor on health affairs. The UMKC School of Medicine, the top public medical school in Missouri for primary care, opened in 1971 to meet the heath-care needs of the state and the nation. Using an innovative approach, the school accepts students directly out of high school for the combined B.A./M.D. program that allows students to graduate in six years – vs. eight – with their medical degrees. The school also offers a traditional four-year program as well as four master’s degree programs in anesthesia, physician assistant, bioinformatics, and health professions education. UMKC is one of only 20 universities in the U.S. to offer medical education along with dentistry, nursing and pharmacy on one campus. Combined with Children’s Mercy, University Health and city, county and state health organizations, it offers a unique UMKC Health Sciences District. Nov 13, 2023

  • UMKC Recognizes Outstanding Alumni

    14 alumni and one family will be honored April 5
    The University of Missouri-Kansas City Class of 2024 Alumni Achievement Award recipients include a national ABC News anchor, a nonprofit founder and Kansas City trailblazers. Each year, UMKC recognizes a select group of alumni for their inspirational accomplishments. The event offers a chance to celebrate the achievements and successes of graduates UMKC sends out into the world each year at Commencement, and raises funds to support their fellow Roos. Join us in honoring the Class of 2024 awardees at a celebration on April 5 from 5:00 p.m. at the White Recital Hall in the James C. Olson Performing Arts Center. University-Wide Alumni Awardees Alumna of the Year Rhiannon Ally (B.A. ’05) is a national anchor for ABC News’ “World News Now” and “America This Morning” and is a correspondent on “Good Morning America.” She also made her author debut with the children’s book, “Mommy, Please Don’t Go to Work!” The Raytown native co-anchored the Emmy-Award-winning 10 p.m. newscast for Kansas City’s NBC affiliate KSHB-TV alongside her husband, Mike Marusarz (B.A. ‘04), whom she met at UMKC. Ally’s nearly 20-year career has taken her to Miami, New York, Los Angeles, London and Las Vegas. She has interviewed renowned celebrities including Madonna, Denzel Washington, Caroline Kennedy and Gloria Steinem. Ally also has had a front row seat to history, documenting events including the Boston Marathon bombing, the war in Ukraine, Hurricane Katrina and the Ghislaine Maxwell trial. Spotlight Award Carmaletta Williams (B.A. ’84, M.A. ’87, Ph.D.) is the Chief Executive Officer of the Black Archives of Mid-America in Kansas City. In this role, she plays a part in preserving and celebrating the role that Black Kansas Citians played in shaping, growing and enriching the Kansas City area. She also worked on a booklet titled ‘Kansas City Black History: The African American Story of History and Culture in our Community,’ which acknowledges, memorializes and documents the impact of exceptional leaders, artists, businesspeople and athletes from Kansas City’s Black communities. The Bill French Alumni Service Award As a member of the UMKC Board of Trustees and Trustees’ Scholars Committee, Suzanne Shank (J.D., MPA ’82) demonstrates an unwavering dedication to the university’s advancement.  She has also actively participated in numerous nonprofit associations, showcasing her commitment to philanthropy and community development. Her leadership roles in local organizations such as the KC Ballet, the UMKC Friends of the Conservatory, the Symphony League and the Lyric Opera, have contributed significantly to the cultural and artistic fabric of Kansas City. Defying the Odds Award Henry W. Wash (B.A., MPA) is the founder of High Aspirations, a proactive mentoring program for Black males ages 8 to 18 that emphasizes social, emotional, academic and spiritual growth. Over the last decade, this nonprofit has impacted thousands of young Black men’s lives. It is a nurturing program for Black males that increases social capacity and leads to a better quality of life for all. Wash faced adversity early in his life. Abandoned by his mother at 3 months, he grew up in the foster-care system. He credits the mentorship he received from two prominent Kansas Citians, Henry W. Bloch and Thurman N. Mitchell, in helping him overcome his circumstances. Wash proceeded to get his undergraduate and MPA degrees from UMKC. Legacy Award The Tedrow/Selders/Hogerty Family's legacy at UMKC dates back generations. Joseph Herbert Tedrow graduated from the Kansas City School of Law in 1922. His granddaughter, Martha Hogerty, earned her B.A. from UMKC in 1975 and her J.D. in 1979. She then served as Missouri Public Counsel for 12 years, where she advocated for Missouri residents and small businesses and represented Missourians in utility regulation cases. Her daughter, Mary Needham, earned her B.A. from UMKC in 1988. Needham works at the UMKC Foundation as the director of development for the School of Humanities and Social Sciences. School Alumni Achievement Awardees Conservatory: Dina Thomas (MFA ’11) Actor School of Dentistry: Laila Hishaw (D.D.S. ’00) Founding Partner, Tucson Smiles Pediatric Dentistry School of Education, Social Work and Psychological Sciences: Donna Bushur (B.A. ’86, MSW ’06) Health Forward Foundation, Impact Strategist Henry W. Bloch School of Management: Julia Terenjuk (MBA ’00) Founder and CEO, Creative Capsule School of Humanities and Social Sciences: Daniel Silva (B.A. ’00) President and CEO, Kansas City, Kansas Chamber of Commerce School of Law: Allison Murdock (J.D. ’88) Managing Partner, Stinson LLP School of Medicine: Michael Monaco (B.A. ’84, M.D. ’87) Internal Medicine Physician, Empower Preventive Care PA School of Nursing and Health Studies: Lori Erickson (BSN ’06, MSN ’09, Ph.D. ’20) Director, Remote Health Solutions, Children’s Mercy School of Pharmacy: Crystal Riggs (Pharm.D. ’03) Senior Vice President, Pharmacy Services, Curative School of Science and Engineering: Amy Manning-Bog (Ph.D. ’99) Chief Innovation Officer, MRI Global Visit the UMKC Alumni Association website to learn more about the event – tickets and sponsorships are available. If you are unable to attend the event but would like to donate to student scholarships, you can make a contribution online. The Alumni Awards ceremony is one of the university's largest events to support student scholarships. In the last decade, the Alumni Awards event has garnered more than $1 million in scholarships and immediate aid for UMKC students. Nov 09, 2023

  • The Rise of Jhy Coulter’s Devoured Pizza

    UMKC alum's senior project kicked off the pop-up pizzeria concept
    When Jhy Coutler (B.A. '17) turned in her design senior project in 2017, there was no way of knowing the concept would be brought to life just four years later. What initially started as slinging pizzas in her backyard has turned into a pop-up pizzeria that can be spotted at various Kansas City businesses, including the recent Roos Mobb event at MADE MOBB. We talked to Coutler about Devoured’s journey, from winning a Hulu cooking show competition to her future brick-and-mortar concept that plans to open in 2024. What did you study at UMKC and how has that helped you with creating Devoured Pizza? I studied studio art with an emphasis in graphic design . For our senior project, we were asked to create our own magazine. I decided to create a foodie magazine concept and named it Devoured. Once I graduated, I decided to start an Instagram account with the concept, Devoured Magazine, to bring the concept to life. I cooked different foods and shared it on the account to highlight what I was making. In 2019, I won a pizza oven and that helped me to decide to dive into the pop-up the business with Devoured Pizza. It also helped that I had the experience, as I used to work at a local pizzeria in town during my time at UMKC. It is funny how my senior project helped kickstart the whole concept of Devoured. It was like a blessing in disguise. My experiences at UMKC also helped me feel confident enough to continue my journey in design. Right now, I still do all the marketing and design for Devoured. You were recently on Hulu’s “Best in Dough” pizza making competition show (Episode 5: “Pop Goes the Pizza”). What was that experience like? It was incredible. Honestly, I am still in shock that it happened and that I actually won both rounds. It was my first time being on TV like that, so it was slightly nerve wracking. I grew up watching Food Network and Chopped as a kid, but the experience made me realize how intense it was. For the first round, we only had 20 minutes to make a pizza! But, I had so much fun, and I would love to be on another show. It was just a thrilling experience overall. A brick-and-mortar called Orange By: Devoured is in the works. Tell us more about it. I like to think of Devoured as a concept umbrella and Orange By: Devoured as a micro-concept under it. It will be a small shop that feels like a community hub. I chose Orange as it’s a vibrant and positive color and I want people to feel that way when they visit. I also like that it is not a typical pizza shop name, as we plan to serve tapas and other small plates. Orange By: Devoured is important to me because I want to be able to create smaller concepts and play around with Devoured as a whole. I’m excited for people to come in and try new things. Orange By: Devoured will be located at Martini Corner with an expected opening of Spring 2024. Nov 07, 2023

  • Next Stop: Career Success, Thanks to KC Streetcar

    UMKC location paved the way for students to make a professional difference in the community.
    Iain Blair (B.S.Ci.E. '23) got to give back to the city he calls home by applying science to the real world to make a positive difference. “I chose to study at UMKC because I live in Kansas City and Kansas City's my home,” Blair said. Blair chose to focus on two distinct fields, majoring in civil engineering and minoring in environmental sustainability. The pairing provided him the opportunity to learn the interesting crossroads of designing systems to account for the climate crisis. “Engineers are the ones that create the systems that our society is built on," he said. "By adding environmental sustainability, it adds this extra nuance of how we design our systems intelligently to accommodate for a growing population.” Blair is now a transportation planner at HDR, which he describes as a dual role where he’s part engineer and part transportation and community planner. “Going to school in a university inside of the city, there's just so much more opportunity and employment available than a college town,” Blair said. Bill Yord, who is an adjunct professor at the School of Science and Engineering and a senior project manager at the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority, said that as the utility manager for the KC Streetcar south line extension, he was able to loop UMKC students into being part of the project. “The students provided a voice for UMKC with the streetcar extension,” Yord said. The ability for students to be involved in a significant city project such as the streetcar extension had its benefits, especially when it comes to preparing students for real-world experiences. “Engineering is a team sport," Yord said. "It’s designing the project but it’s also who you are designing the project for and the larger community and so the students got a real-world experience of what engineering really is.”  There’s also benefits to studying engineering specifically in Kansas City.“We have a lot of engineering power in Kansas City, and students have the benefit for that community for jobs, guidance and opportunities,” Yord said. As a result of these experiences, students are able to learn important skills crucial to their careers outside the classroom. “With our senior design project, we worked with KCATA, and the great thing about it was that we got to work with our client and interact with them directly, which provided a lot of really great real-world experience as opposed to just theoretical classroom experience,” Blair said.  “I really am proud to be a Roo," Blair said. "I'm proud to graduate from Kansas City and I'm really proud to know that I'm making a difference in the city that I live in and love so much.” Nov 07, 2023

  • Full Circle Moment: UMKC Student, Mentor Win Same Research Award 34 Years Apart

    Undergraduate research funding provided opportunity to conduct archival research on Mayan archeological site
    Earth and environmental science student Aleigha Dollens recently won the 2023 Richard Hay Award from the Geoarchaeology Division of the Geological Society of America (GSA) for her research on evidence of earthquakes at the Mayan archaeological site of Quirigua in Guatemala. The award supports travel to the GSA annual meeting and recognizes meritorious student research. This was especially good news to Dollens’ mentor, Tina Niemi, Ph.D., as the Curators’ Distinguished Teaching Professor was the first recipient of this award 34 years ago. Niemi has taught geology at UMKC since 1995 and has personally mentored more than 60 undergraduate research projects with student funding from SEARCH, SUROP and NSF-funded research experience grants.  “For my MS research, I reconstructed the paleoenvironmental history of a submerged classical archaeological site along the central coast of Greece,” Niemi said. “It was the presentation of that research at the annual meeting of the GSA in 1989 that won me the first-granted Richard Hay award. I am very proud of Aleigha and her achievements and thrilled that she has followed in my footsteps with this well-deserved award. The dedication of UMKC and its leaders to support undergraduate research is phenomenal.” Dollens and Niemi visited the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard University this past summer to search museum archives for excavation documents and artifacts that can help constrain the date of the earthquake that occurred during the final occupation of the Quirigua site. “Winning the Richard Hay Award from the Geoarchaeology Division of the Geological Society of America is an honor like no other, especially since Dr. Tina Niemi was the first-ever recipient,” Dollens said. “She is one of my greatest supporters and pushes me to be a better geoscientist and a better person. It is an honor to get to work with such a strong woman in the geosciences field and I would not be where I am today if it weren’t for her ongoing support.” The research was funded by the UMKC Undergraduate Research Program through SUROP and SEARCH awards and by the Earth and Environmental Science Newcomb Research Grant. Nov 01, 2023

  • A Rare Look Inside UMKC Epperson House

    The historic building is said to have a haunted past
    For decades, UMKC faculty, students, staff, even police officers, have shared history and folklore of the mysterious Epperson House. In November 2023, the university issued a request for proposal for a potential public-private partnership to restore and repurpose the home. While its haunted past is a topic for debate, one thing is for sure, it’s a storied tribute to Kansas City’s history, but few have had a look inside its walls. Below are details of the home’s origin and owners, campus legend and a rare look inside one of the most captivating buildings on campus.   Built in 1920, Epperson House was the home of Kansas City insurance tycoon Uriah Epperson and his wife, Mary. The 54-room mansion cost $500,000 and was a blend of a castle and Tudor-style home.  The Eppersons were patrons of music and the arts. Among the charities they supported was the Kansas City Conservatory, now-known as the UMKC Conservatory. Their grand home included a Great Hall, where they would host friends and included a stage, where they would arrange for performances. Above the Great Hall, sits a custom organ loft. Though childless, the Eppersons befriended Harriet Barse, an organ instructor from the Conservatory whom they regarded as their adopted daughter. Barse even moved into Epperson home. She commissioned the organ and intended to entertain guests, but she fell ill and died before the organ was installed. While she never played the organ during her lifetime, it is the topic of strange encounters reported in the home, with reports of organ music coming from the basement. Following the death of Uriah and Mary Epperson, the home was donated to the university. Its first use was as a dormitory for Navy air cadets during WWII. The cadets reported seeing a ghostly woman in a white gown walking the halls of the home. Throughout the decades following the war, the home was used as a residence hall and in the 70s, a practice space for the UMKC Conservatory. It was during this time that stories of strange phenomena inside Epperson House increased. Students reported hearing footsteps in empty parts of the home. And the light at the top of the home’s tower would turn on by itself even though the tower had been sealed off decades before. A custodian had a close call when a chandelier came loose in the living room, narrowly missing the staffer. And a police officer reported being at Epperson House when his patrol car was hit. He got out to find skid marks, but not another car in sight. These days, there is no access to Epperson House and the building is in need of repair. However, the university is hopeful about potential for Epperson House’s reuse.  Oct 31, 2023

  • Alumna Connects Past, Present and Future at Historic Kansas City Cemetery

    Tina Lasater discovered UMKC history at Forest Hill Calvary Cemetery
    While starting work at Forest Hill Calvary Cemetery one morning a few years ago, Tina Lasater (B.L.A. ’03) made a discovery. Behind a desk, she spied a thick sheaf of parchment papers stuffed into a leather binder. Her find turned out to be a collection of designs and plans created by the cemetery’s architect more than 125 years earlier. “I was so intrigued,” said Lasater, a client counselor at the cemetery. “When I showed it to my manager, she took me to an area where even more documents were stored.” Since finding this treasure, Lasater has delved into the cemetery history and the UMKC stories associated with it. Just three miles from the Volker Campus, Forest Hill Calvary Cemetery at 69th Street and Troost Avenue, shares more than a geographical proximity with the university. Many founders and benefactors who established the university and forged its future have their final resting place at the cemetery, established in 1888. Its 160 acres of rolling hills include unique monuments, grave markers and tributes to those buried and interred there. In addition to being a resting place for those who contributed so much to UMKC and beyond, the cemetery is also a tribute to the present. More than a hundred species of trees from around the world line its winding roads and beautify its graceful landscape. George Kessler, who served as the landscape architect when the cemetery was created, is recognized for designing the city’s renowned boulevards and parks. Sid Hare, who served as the first superintendent of the cemetery, oversaw the original plantings. Hare challenged the idea of how burial grounds should look and saw the potential for them to be not just a resting place for those who have passed, but a botanical garden for the living. “When I first saw Forest Hill about 15 years ago, I thought it was so beautiful," Lasater said. "As a UMKC graduate, I love the history of our school and alumni here." Following are some of those who have made extraordinary contributions to the past, present and future of UMKC. L.P. Cookingham From 1940-1959, Cookingham was city manager of Kansas City, Missouri. In 1979, UMKC conferred upon him the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters and later named the L.P. Cookingham Institute of Urban Affairs at the Henry W. Bloch School of Management after him. Oliver Hayes “O. H.” Dean A lawyer and judge, Dean was also a founder of the Kansas City School of Law in 1895. He served as the school’s vice president from 1895-1902 and president for the next 25 years. He added the post-graduate program and oversaw construction of the law school in 1926, to which he donated his personal law library. Tatiana Dokoudovska A world-renowned ballerina, Dokoudovska joined the Conservatory of Music in 1954 as head of the ballet department, a position she held until her retirement in 1989. She initiated UMKC’s bachelor’s degree in dance at a time when few such programs were available in the United States. A choreographer and artistic director, she founded the Kansas City Civic Ballet, which later became the Kansas City Ballet. An outgrowth of the Conservatory of Music’s recital program, she developed the Ballet from its humble beginnings to a nationally recognized company. Uriah Spray “U.S.” Epperson Banker, industrialist and philanthropist, Epperson hired eccentric French architect Horace LaPierre to design a monumental mansion at 52nd and Cherry streets for himself and his wife, Mary Elizabeth Weaver Epperson. Construction on the house began in 1919 and was completed in 1923 at a cost of nearly $500,000. The four-story Tudor-Gothic structure contained 54 rooms, including six bathrooms, elevators, a swimming pool, billiard room, barbershop and a custom organ. After the death of Mary Epperson, the home was donated to what is now UMKC. Since that time, the house has been rumored to be haunted by Harriet Barse, an organ instructor at the Conservatory who lived with the Eppersons. Reports of the haunting include the appearance of Barse’s ghost and organ music coming from the mansion’s basement. Lena Haag Born in 1864, Haag left home in 1879 to attend the Moravian Seminary for Young Ladies in Pennsylvania. An exceptional pianist, her interest in art and music developed at the school. After graduation, she returned to Kansas City and continued her studies in art. In 1936, she made an anonymous donation of $225,000 to the university. This donation, kept anonymous until her death in 1951, provided funding for the construction of Haag Hall, endowment and student loan funds and the fine arts program. Herbert F. and Linda Hall  Herbert and Linda Hall lived in a 1913 mansion at 51st and Cherry streets. Upon her death in 1938, Linda Hall established an endowment for a free, specialized library. Her husband left additional millions of dollars for the library, which he instructed be named for his wife. In 1946, the Linda Hall Library opened in the couple’s mansion. In 1964, the library relocated to a new structure next to the Hall’s home. Independently funded and operated, Linda Hall Library provides resources to researchers around the world. Charles Francis Horner In response to area demand for musical education, Horner founded the Horner Institute of Fine Arts in 1914, which he headed until 1934, eight years after it became the Kansas City Conservatory of Music. Ernest Newcomb Founder of the University of Kansas City, Newcomb wrote the school's charter, hired faculty, outlined the courses and opened the university. While establishing the school, Newcomb collaborated with businessman and philanthropist, William Volker, who donated the land for the campus. Newcomb left the school in 1938 but was publicly acknowledged as the father of the university in 1977. Elmer F. Pierson Founder of Vendo, a vending machine manufacturer, Pierson donated $250,000 for Pierson Auditorium and established the John B. Gage Lecture and Fellowship Fund. Kenneth Aldred and Helen E. Foresman Spencer Kenneth Spencer was a third-generation coal mine owner and one of the original founders of MRIGlobal. Generous philanthropists, he and his wife, Helen Spencer, provided the financial gift for the Spencer Theatre, the original home of the Missouri Repertory Theatre. Edward F. Swinney A Kansas City School Board member and president of the American Bankers Association and the First National Bank of Kansas City, Swinney established the Edward F. Swinney Trust, and the Swinney Recreation Center bears his name. William Volker Businessman and philanthropist, Volker’s generosity left an enduring impact across UMKC and the Kansas City community. He donated 40 acres and a house to launch the University of Kansas City (now UMKC) and contributed more than $2.5 million for its campus and structures. The Volker Campus is named after him. Known as “Mr. Anonymous of Bell Street,” Volker also quietly provided assistance for those in need across the city, along with millions of dollars in gifts to philanthropic organizations and projects. Hazel Browne Williams The first African American full-time professor at UMKC, Williams became an associate professor at the School of Education in 1958 and was a full professor in secondary education in 1960. She retired in 1976, after serving on the faculty for 18 years, and was granted emeritus status — the first Back person to receive this honor from UMKC. Oct 31, 2023

  • UMKC School of Medicine Receives National Award for Community Engagement

    Association of American Medical Colleges recognizes service to Kansas City area
    The University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine has received the prestigious Spencer Foreman Award for Outstanding Community Engagement from the Association of American Medical Colleges. The award highlights the university’s longstanding commitment to supporting the Kansas City area and its underserved populations. According to the AAMC, UMKC has displayed unwavering dedication to reaching community members through nontraditional avenues of health care with low- and no-cost clinics, community events, education opportunities and more. The School of Medicine is the only recipient of this award in 2023, further cementing its reputation of inclusion and community success. To School of Medicine Dean Mary Anne Jackson, M.D., this award is a checkpoint, rather than a finish line. “We are honored to receive this award, not only for the recognition of our hardworking students, staff and faculty, but for the visibility this brings to schools of medicine, like ours, that seek to better the community,” Jackson said. “Being a medical professional and working with wonderful collaborators at the School of Medicine and our affiliates is choosing every day to deliver the highest level of care to all people, regardless of who they are or where they come from. Connecting with the community through our many outreach efforts is teaching our students that optimizing care for all can occur in real time, and I can’t wait to see what more we can accomplish together.” More than 60 key community partnerships help make university outreach successful. Strong bonds among UMKC and businesses, faith groups, neighborhood organizations, youth groups and local leaders have all played a key role in identifying areas of need and how UMKC can best serve. One of the champions of community engagement, Jannette Berkley-Patton, Ph.D., director of the UMKC Health Equity Institute, has been spearheading these efforts throughout her career at the university. “We’ve received this honor because of our stellar community partners, staff and students who are committed to improving the health of Kansas Citians,” Berkley-Patton said. “We are being recognized on a national level because of their desire to make the world a better place, and I am honored to have a part in this community engagement journey. Thank you to everyone involved who has made this work possible.” Jackson County Executive Frank White Jr. has played a key role in Our Healthy Jackson County’s success. “This award is a special opportunity for our community to recognize all the hard work that UMKC and their community partners, staff and students do to bring health care to Jackson County," White said. "Seeing the community become healthier together is proof that the Our Healthy Jackson County program needs and deserves the county’s investment now and in the future. With the support of UMKC, we are truly making a difference in our residents’ lives and it’s rewarding to know that our work is being recognized on a national level for others to follow." In an online award presentation Oct. 25, the AAMC noted that the impact of the university is “Evident in its outcomes,” citing the success of Our Health Jackcon County and the university’s partnership with KC Faith Community Action Board. Jackson and Berkley-Patton will accept the award Nov. 5 at an AAMC conference in Seattle. AAMC presenters said: “Community engagement at UMKC has a profound impact on learners, helping them to become more compassionate practitioners. When sharing his experience with the Community Health Research Group and the Health Equity Institute, led by Dr. Jannette Berkley-Patton, fourth-year medical student Alex Geyer notes, ‘engaging with the community face-to-face, outside of the clinical setting, will help me be a physician worthy of my patients’ trust and serve as a role model for future budding physicians.” Oct 30, 2023

  • Passion for Art History Led William Ritter, M.D., (M.A. ’18), to Become an Award-Winning Teacher

    UMKC faculty member and alumnus helps medical students connect art and medicine
    William Ritter, M.D., (M.A. ’18), looks at a painting or a sculpture of the human body by Michelangelo or Leonardo Da Vinci and sees more than a famous work of art. He sees a history of medicine. Every year, he shares his insights with students at the UMKC School of Medicine, describing the intersection of art and medicine and how one has spurred the other throughout the centuries. “There’s a lot of commonality between art and medicine,” Ritter said. “Just go to Michelangelo and Leonardo -- they were the first anatomists. You go back and look at a lot of their paintings, it’s all anatomy. They were the first ones to dissect the human body, so the Renaissance is really the birth of anatomy, the birth of everything: art, the liberal arts. Art history is really the crux of early medical studies, medical thinking, dissections, and it keeps going on and on.”  This Fall, Ritter, who also holds a master’s degree in art history from UMKC, begins his sixth year in the School of Medicine’s Sirridge Office of Medical Humanities and Bioethics as course director of an elective in medicine and the visual arts. He also teaches the class in the Spring, and serves as a docent for first- and second-year medical students. “We try to make it interesting,” Ritter said. “We give them a little medicine and how it ties to art history. I give them a lot of art history, actually, because I like doing it, and it’s a nice variation. It’s a way to do both art and medicine and get away from just medicine.” School of Medicine Dean Mary Anne Jackson, M.D., said Ritter’s work is an ideal example of what Marjorie and Bill Sirridge, two of the school’s founding docents, envisioned when they endowed the office in 1992 to expand humanities course offerings for both premedical students and students in UMKC’s six-year B.A./M.D. program. “I am so grateful for Dr. Bill Ritter, whose work at our School of Medicine embodies the vision of the Drs. Sirridge,” Jackson said. “Early clinical experience in medicine is foundational to our school, and as a Year 1 and 2 docent, Dr. Ritter teaches our students the fundamentals of medicine, but also allows them to experience the human side of medicine through the arts.” Ritter realized his interest in art and art history while he was in school. But studying to become a doctor took precedence, and college electives in art history gave way to courses leading to a degree in chemistry, followed by medical school. Ritter graduated from Philadelphia’s Sidney Kimmel Medical College, Thomas Jefferson University in 1971. He trained in internal medicine at Emory University, followed by a cardiology fellowship at the University of Texas Southwestern. “There wasn’t much art when I was in medical school for sure,” Ritter said. But his passion for art never waned, even after he became entrenched in a career as a cardiologist. One night before dinner with friends, a member of the group, who also happened to be a guide at Kansas City’s Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, took everyone on a tour of the museum. Ritter was immediately intrigued. “My eyes really lit up,” he said. “I said, ‘I’d like to show off Monet, stand there with a Monet and tell everybody about it and what I know about it.’ I thought that was really cool. So I ended up joining the Nelson as a museum guide (in 2008).” For nearly 10 years, Ritter walked the hallways of the Nelson-Atkins and the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art on weekends and evenings as a guide and docent, sharing his love and knowledge of the fine arts with the museums’ visitors. Several years ago, Ritter and his practice partner sold their cardiology practice after 30 years. With some free time, he decided to dive deeper into his art interest. Ritter went to the UMKC Fine Arts building, where he met art history professor Burton Dunbar, who would become a close friend and mentor. Over the next 2 1/2 years, Ritter studied art history, earning his master’s degree in 2018. He began at the School of Medicine five years ago developing the arts and medicine course and serving as a docent, a role that allows him to introduce medical students to their earliest patient encounters. “I’d never done much teaching before — a little bit clinically — but nothing formal,” Ritter said. “It turned out, I think maybe it was my calling. Maybe I should have been doing this sooner.” His passion for teaching, just like his love for art history, blossomed, and two years ago medical students honored Ritter with the Outstanding Years 1 and 2 Docent Award, given annually by students to one instructor for his or her pursuit of teaching excellence in medicine. “I think I have a natural interest in teaching students,” Ritter said. “That’s what helps in getting along with students and being successful. You’ve got to be one of them.” Oct 23, 2023

  • Greater Kansas City and Missouri Named Tech Hubs

    UMKC played significant role in U.S. Economic Development Administration designation
    The U.S. Economic Development Administration has named the KC region and Missouri “Tech Hubs” as part of a historic investment to strengthen the U.S. economy and national security - and the University of Missouri-Kansas City played a significant role in this recognition. UMKC Chancellor Mauli Agrawal, along with national and other local leaders, spoke at an announcement event Monday at the Greater Kansas City of Commerce boardroom at Union Station. "The new Tech Hubs designation provides great scope for innovation in Kansas City – and I can envision all the groundbreaking advancements to come as our UMKC students, faculty and staff work in collaboration with the many fantastic organizations in the greater Kansas City area," Agrawal said. "We at UMKC could not be more excited." Maria Meyers, executive director of the UMKC Innovation Center, speaks with UMKC Chancellor Mauli Agrawal and Anthony Caruso, associate vice chancellor for research at UMKC. The regional proposal, Kansas City Inclusive Biologics and Biomanufacturing Tech Hub (KC BioHub), led by BioNexus KC, of which the university is a member, UMKC and more than 60 partner organizations, will ramp up life-saving vaccine production and other preventative technologies to leverage regional assets and the existing ecosystem to become a global leader in biomanufacturing and life sciences. KC BioHub can now apply for phase 2 funding of up to $75 million. "The Tech Hubs designation is not just a title; it's a reflection of the dedication and hard work of the entire Kansas City community," said Maria Meyers, executive director of the UMKC Innovation Center. "It highlights our shared commitment to innovation and our ability to harness our collective potential. The UMKC Innovation Center is excited to play a pivotal role in this journey, and we can't wait to witness the advancements that will emerge from this exciting collaboration."  Agrawal said the Tech Hubs designation and the opportunity that comes with it, is a natural next step for the community, and one UMKC has been preparing for. Last year, UMKC received a $12.97 million grant from the Kauffman Foundation to increase entrepreneurship programming and technology commercialization. This grant expanded existing programs and allowed for the creation of new ones, with the goal of reducing barriers to entrepreneurship and technology innovation and commercialization. And just last week, UMKC unveiled the next steps in its planned expansion of the UMKC Health Sciences District with the Healthcare Delivery and Innovation Building, a physical space designed to fuel innovation. That $120 million building will house key assets for research, technology and engineering. One of these assets is the Data Science Analytics and Innovation Center, which is focused on creating new advances in data sciences to transform the way we personalize healthcare and contribute to new discoveries. UMKC Chancellor Mauli Agrawal speaks about the Kansas City region - from Manhattan, Kansas to Columbia, Missouri - being designated a Tech Hub at an announcement event. Across Missouri, UMKC also contributed to another Tech Hub. The Critical Minerals and Materials for Advanced Energy Tech Hub, led by the University of Missouri System, aims to position south-central Missouri as a global leader in critical minerals processing to provide the materials needed to support battery technology. This Tech Hub will build on the region’s mineral-rich geography, expertise in hydrometallurgical refining and existing assets to increase processing capacity to convert minerals into materials necessary for advanced energy and critical goods, including lithium-ion and primary-lead-acid batteries. In doing so, the Tech Hub seeks to meet the demand of U.S. advanced energy manufacturers and reduce dependence on foreign critical minerals while creating thousands of good-paying jobs. "The region possesses the natural resources, transportation infrastructure, workforce, workforce training, expertise and incumbent corporations necessary to build a thriving critical materials circular economy; the same is true of the foundational elements for biologics manufacturing," said Anthony Caruso, associate vice chancellor for research at UMKC. "In both cases, the impact is directed to the taxpayer and U.S. national and economic security." Tech Hubs was passed with the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022 and has authorized $10 billion for the program over five years. The goal of the federal program is to give an economic push to communities like the KC region. It is expected to drive new technologies to provide the U.S. with a competitive edge against other countries, driving economic growth and training for tech workers. The KC region and Missouri were two of the 31 Tech Hubs chosen from more than 370 applications. Oct 23, 2023

  • Five Bits of Wisdom from Author Mónica Guzmán

    Roos Read selection writer visited campus to speak with UMKC community
    Mónica Guzmán, author of this semester’s Roos Read selection, "I Never Thought Of It That Way: How to Have Fearlessly Curious Conversations in Dangerously Divided Times,” visited the UMKC Volker campus for an author talk this month. Guzmán’s book offers insights and tools to connect with people whose views differ, a little or widely, from yours. Guzmán’s book aims to shed light on blind spots and bring people back together. “Mónica is a journalist and storyteller who isn’t afraid to ask hard questions or to answer them,” said UMKC Chancellor Mauli Agrawal. “Her life experiences, both personal and professional, drove her to explore why our communities feel so divided. What she found is that one of our most powerful tools in breaking down barriers is our own curiosity. When we ask questions and lean on our natural curiosity, we can understand each other and even learn from each other.” During the author talk, Guzmán answered questions from moderator Jessica Gantt-Shafer, Ph.D., assistant professor of communication at the UMKC School of Humanities and Social Sciences, as well as questions from the attendees. Here are five bits of wisdom she shared over the course of the talk.   “I was someone who wanted to get it right all the time. I was careful and cautious, but I also found people fascinating. At my internship right out of school, I was so scared to pick up the phone. My shyness went up against my need to know these people, and it lost.”   “Belonging is the most important call there is. Being understood and giving people understanding creates community.”   “Feel like you aren’t connecting? One thing you can try is a pivot: ‘I see it differently. Can I tell you how I see it?’ People will hear more when they are heard.”   “Need to challenge your thoughts? Try to figure out who you’re talking about but never with. If your views feel condensed and simple, look for the complexity.”   “How do you disagree with someone who thinks you shouldn’t exist? ‘Am I allowed to exist in a world you think is good?’ That gives them a lot of power. Who are they to say who exists? Maybe the most powerful way to argue against people who think you shouldn’t exist is to keep on existing. Existence is power.” This is the inaugural year for Roos Read. The campuswide initiative was launched by the Office of the Chancellor and facilitated by the Division of Diversity and Inclusion. Its goal is to encourage UMKC students, staff, faculty and community members to read a recommended title that showcases a distinctive voice, perspective or theme and engage in discussions intended to generate action toward change. Oct 23, 2023

  • Supporting a Healthy Community

    Our Healthy Jackson County is bringing health care to the people
    The Gregg/Klice Community Center in Kansas City was buzzing on a recent Saturday afternoon with a DJ, free food, balloon animals and a bounce house, thanks to community initiative Our Healthy Jackson County. Amid the family fun, residents also received cancer screenings, vaccinations and a variety of other free health services. Led by Jannette Berkley-Patton, M.A., Ph.D., director of the UMKC Health Equity Institute, the community initiative is dedicated to promoting equity and access to vaccinations and other health and community services. Formerly Our Healthy Kansas City Eastside, the program has expanded its services and community footprint to all of Jackson County, thanks in part to Jackson County, which awarded $5 million in funding for the next phase of the program. According to Berkley-Patton, it’s a great example of collaboration among UMKC, Jackson County, neighborhood leaders and the business sector. “First and foremost, it speaks to County Executive Frank White and the rest of the Jackson County Legislature recognizing that there are significant health disparities in Jackson County that need to be addressed,” Berkley-Patton said. “We have underserved populations that have told us how valuable these services are to them.” White attended the event Saturday and noted that the initiative has become a valuable resource for the community. “Dr. Berkley-Patton and the groups she works with have done a great job getting people to come out and take ownership of their health,” he said. “This is a legacy for us all that we can be proud of. When you see how many people have turned out here today, it tells you how many people lack access to health care.” The kickoff event for the expanded initiative offered a variety of free health services, including COVID-19, flu and HPV vaccinations; blood pressure and blood sugar checks; mental health, STI, cancer and dental screenings; and smoking cessation resources. Those taking advantage of these services received cash incentives for participating. One community member who showed up for his COVID-19 and flu shots Saturday was Kansas City civic leader and former City Council member, Alvin Brooks. “I’m 91 and I want to stay healthy,” Brooks said. “God has been good to me, and this is me trying to be good to myself. I’m glad to see so many people from the African American community here. I know so many of them. This is certainly a success. There was a line out the door.” Indeed, the success of the first phase has been clear. Our Healthy Kansas City Eastside provided 12,942 vaccinations and delivered 4,152 instances of health services in 2021 and 2022. At the most recent Our Healthy Jackson County event, nearly 170 community members attended and 141 received vaccines. But the proof of success also has been evident in the feedback Berkley-Patton received directly from community members. “I remember talking to one woman who was a new grandmother,” Berkley-Patton said. “She was so excited to get her COVID-19 vaccination because she knew that not only was she protecting herself, but also protecting her grandchild that she was so eager to see.” Kansas City home health-care worker Latonya Drew echoed that sentiment Saturday as she received her vaccine. She had her clients’ health and well-being in mind as she got her shot. She said she appreciated that the initiative is brought to the neighborhoods where people live. “This is good for people who don’t have transportation to get here,” Drew said. “Coming here, you get a lot of information, and you get to know your community.” UMKC health sciences students and faculty play an integral role keeping these essential services free for Jackson County residents. Students and faculty from the Schools of Dentistry, Medicine, Nursing and Health Studies and Pharmacy were on hand providing screenings, vaccinations and answering health questions. “How often can you just walk up to a doctor and ask a question, no waiting for an appointment?” Berkley-Patton asked. “It can make a world of difference having this level of access to health-care providers in a setting that folks frequent and trust.” According to Berkley-Patton, the experience is pivotal for UMKC health sciences students, providing them with a better understanding of the importance of preventive care. Through providing screenings and health-care education, students see how a small intervention in someone’s life can have lasting effects for overall health. The event also provides students an opportunity to work in the community, where they hear first-hand the effects of social determinants of health, such as transportation issues, food insecurity or lack of insurance. Student Micah Anderson (Pharm.D. ’24) first encountered the program by chance at her local grocery store. She was shopping and happened across one the organization’s original events. She has lived all her life in Jackson County, and seeing people from UMKC giving back to her community was transformative. “It was really impactful,” Anderson said. “Seeing my classmates and faculty at UMKC helping the people I see at the grocery store and the pharmacy.” As soon as the opportunity to volunteer with the organization came up, Anderson jumped at the chance to help her community. “These are the people who have motivated me, encouraged me in my pursuit of pharmacy,” Anderson said. “This opportunity is really important to me, using the skills and clinical knowledge that I’ve developed at UMKC to give back to the people that have poured so much into me.” On Saturday, Anderson conducted blood sugar and blood pressure screenings for three straight hours. “We’ve been really busy,” she said. “We haven’t stopped the entire time.” Third-year pharmacy student Jessica Thomas spent the event giving vaccinations. “It makes me feel like pharmacists really have a role in our community,” Thomas said. “We are having an impact on the health of the community, and I love that.” The health-care providers involved with Our Healthy Jackson County are also helping to address the rising rates of diabetes in Kansas City as well as the area’s high infant mortality rates, an issue Missouri Gov. Mike Parson has identified statewide. Berkley-Patton is excited to launch the organization’s new maternal health program, which supports women of reproductive age with family planning counseling and an immediate appointment with an OB/GYN in the University Health Women’s Care Clinics. The organization uses a unique approach in building the structure of Our Healthy Jackson County, pairing community stakeholders with UMKC experts who are established in these communities. “I have been doing community-engaged research at UMKC now for almost two decades,” Berkley-Patton said. “I am born and raised in Kansas City, so to be able to do this work in my own backyard gives me goosebumps. Seeing thousands of people get the COVID-19 vaccination and much-needed health screenings, seeing the hundreds of volunteers coming together, that’s the stuff that gets me excited and increases my passion for the work we are all doing.” Oct 18, 2023

  • Requests for Proposals for Brookside Boulevard Development Paused

    A feasibility study will be conducted on land near the future streetcar terminus
    UMKC has paused the request for proposals (RFP) process to develop a five-acre parcel of land next to the south terminus of the Kansas City Streetcar at 51st Street and Brookside Boulevard. University leaders said the proposals came in higher than expected based on the specifications in the RFP and higher than anticipated project costs. Sean Reeder, vice chancellor of Finance and Administration, said the university isn’t tabling the project. It is simply hitting pause to revise the parameters for the proposed development that would bring a small arena to campus along with retail and other possible uses. The university envisions the project as creating a destination spot for the campus and surrounding community. UMKC will be conducting a feasibility study in the next few months to determine the right combination of size and programming for the proposed arena and will re-evaluate the opportunity for private development and non-university uses of the available land given current and anticipated market conditions.   Based on current specifications, an analysis of the proposals showed that the proposed private development included in the plans wouldn’t generate enough revenue to cover project costs, Reeder said. The current RFP will remain open while UMKC completes this analysis. Upon completion of the analysis, the university will re-engage the RFP process with the responding firms this coming spring. “We still believe the project can be feasible with revised parameters,” Reeder said. Oct 18, 2023

  • UMKC Law School Provides Bar Preparation Program to All J.D. Students

    Commercial program and in-person bar preparation course are now included in tuition and fees
    Beginning with December 2023 graduates, every juris doctorate student from the UMKC School of Law will receive access to Helix Bar Review, a premier online bar-prep program, as part of their tuition and fees. The in-person bar preparation course, currently taught by Wanda Temm, a nationally recognized expert on bar passage, is now also free for these graduates. UMKC School of Law is one of few in the country to provide both a commercial bar preparation program and a supplemental in-person course at no cost to students beyond tuition and fees. “This is a game-changer for our students,” UMKC School of Law Dean Lou Mulligan said. “Law school is probably the most challenging intellectual exercise they’ll engage in, and the bar exam is the top of that mountain. This initiative ensures that every student has access to these important resources and the best chance to be successful.” Reputable commercial bar preparation programs cost an average of $4,000, a high expense to ask students to pay before many of them have full-time jobs and one that cannot be paid for with a student loan. This leaves many students to make the difficult choice to take out a commercial loan to pay for a program or try to pass the bar exam without using a program to prepare. “The reality of bar prep is that some people have to make an economic-driven decision,” said Alexis Denny, a UMKC law student graduating in December. “So they choose the cheapest or free option, don’t enroll in the in-person class and try to go it alone. With this initiative, no student has to choose between paying for bills or a bar prep program.” Some large law firms pay for bar prep expenses, but students with ambitions in areas of law that don’t pay for bar prep, and likely don’t start at high salaries, are now able to pursue those ambitions with less concern regarding expense. UMKC School of Law prides itself on its ties and service to the Kansas City community, and this is one more way it provides value to that community, as well as its students. “This initiative is deeply in line with our mission,” Mulligan said. “First-generation and other students with fewer economic means now have access to that resource to succeed. We’re helping to create lawyers who seek a career outside of the private sector such as in public defense, district attorney offices and public service work.” “I think this is a really great way to help equalize the bar prep experience,” Denny said. “It’s so helpful for everyone, but especially for those who will be in the public or nonprofit sector where there is no support for bar prep costs.” Faculty and staff at the Law School anticipate that this initiative will increase passage rates for first-time bar takers and inspire confidence from employers that UMKC graduates are prepared to begin work. “Our students will have all of the resources they need,” Mulligan said. “We support our students from their first day at law school all the way through the bar exam. We’ve got them covered.” Oct 18, 2023

  • Revealing the Future of the UMKC Health Sciences District

    Renderings unveiled for $120 million Healthcare Delivery and Innovation Building
    The University of Missouri-Kansas City at a Tuesday event revealed the design of its largest capital investment to date: the $120 million Healthcare Delivery and Innovation Building. UMKC expects to break ground next year on this new building, with key funding from the state of Missouri and visionary Kansas City donors coming together to support this cornerstone project that will launch a new era for the UMKC Health Sciences District and health-care access. The six-story 200,000-square-foot building will be constructed on what is now a parking lot at 25th and Charlotte streets. The project will enable the university to provide state-of-the-art education for the next generation of health-care providers, find newer and better ways to serve patients in need, strengthen collaborations with surrounding neighborhoods and facilitate greater interdisciplinary partnerships to fuel innovation and research. UMKC Chancellor Mauli Agrawal speaks at the rendering reveal event. Photos by Brandon Parigo, UMKC “The new Healthcare Delivery and Innovation Building will be one of a kind,” said UMKC Chancellor Mauli Agrawal. “We know of only one other combined medical and dental education building in the nation, and none other that will include what ours will with a unique combination of collaborative programs focused on elevating health care.” UMKC will house key assets in the building for the following programs: UMKC School of Dentistry. UMKC is a regional leader in dental education with the only public dental school in the states of Missouri and Kansas. The new building will provide leading-edge pre-doctoral dental clinics, enhancing our ability to graduate top-notch dentists. The new space also means students can serve more patients in need through advanced equipment, greater efficiency, expanded hours for acute dental care and the ability to implement teledentistry. Currently, the School of Dentistry provides $750,000 annually in uncompensated dental care for the community. The new facility will house UMKC’s acute dental care programs – such as oral surgery, endodontics and emergency procedures – plus program space for radiology, lab work and a high-tech dental design lab to produce crowns, bridges and implants. UMKC School of Medicine. UMKC has the highest-ranked public medical school in Missouri for primary care. The new facility will allow the School of Medicine to provide cutting-edge simulation labs, including dedicated space to practice essential medical procedures; a full-scale operating room and patient exam rooms to practice patient communication and care. The collaborative learning spaces for students encourage a culture of communication and better prepare them to work with colleagues in their professional lives. UMKC Health Equity Institute. The institute brings together researchers, government and community organizations to improves the lives of the underserved and bridge health-care gaps. The institute combines its research strengths with community groups’ grassroots involvement to identify, quantify and reduce those gaps. In the new building, researchers will collaborate to tackle health disparities and provide access to health care with initiatives including Our Healthy Jackson County that brings free vaccines, health screenings and other resources into neighborhoods and places of worship. The institute’s new space will include a kitchen lab to teach healthy meal preparation. UMKC biomedical engineering. In the new building, doctors, dentists and engineers will work side by side, creating faster, more effective collaboration between science, engineering and the medical world. Product development will accelerate in areas such as medical implants, imaging technology and surgery tools, and UMKC can expand access to the in-demand biomedical engineering degree program with potential global impact. On average, a single engineering position creates 1.5 staff jobs and brings 2.5 households to the Kansas City area, positively impacting Kansas City’s economy. Data Science and Analytics Innovation Center. In partnership with MU and other University of Missouri System universities, UMKC leads a center focused on creating new advances in data sciences and analytics. The new space in the building will provide the center opportunities to focus the power of data science on transforming the way we personalize health care. The data center within the new facility will provide high-performance computing for industry, government and nonprofit organizations within our region to solve data-intensive computing problems. University Health. Our clinical partner will occupy two floors of the new building for office space. The project is close to being fully funded: Included in the last two budgets from Governor Mike Parson and passed by the Missouri General Assembly, the state of Missouri has committed $60 million, The Sunderland Foundation has pledged $30 million, The Hall Family Foundation will contribute $15 million and $10 million will come from federal funding secured by former U.S. Senator Roy Blunt. Groundbreaking will occur in 2024 with project completion expected in 2026. Oct 17, 2023

  • ‘I Knew I Needed To Be Here.’ This UMKC Program Was a Big Draw For Transfer Student

    The Institute for Urban Education trains educators who are diverse and inclusive
    At UMKC students write their own stories, form their own definitions of success and chart innovative career paths. With Kansas City as their classroom, they turn dreams into reality every day. Isaia WilcoxenAnticipated graduation: 2024UMKC degree program: B.A. Elementary EducationHometown: Kansas City, Kansas  Isaia Wilcoxen thought he wanted to be a doctor, but his high school teacher’s high expectations and interest in his personal well-being made him change his path. “My choir director in high school sparked my desire to stay in school,” Wilcoxen said. “She took the time to know who I was and invest in my life. By attending extracurricular activities I participated in and getting to know my family, she truly made an effort to understand who I was as a person. Because of her, I decided for myself that I wanted to do the same for other students.” Wilcoxen’s mother is also a teacher, and she inspired his choice as well. “Growing up, she pushed me and my siblings to work hard and never quit, especially in our academics,” he said. “In addition to being a great mom, she was also a great teacher to me. Her warm demeaner and high expectations pushed me to keep trying and keep learning.” The influence of both women inspired Wilcoxen to aspire to spark that same focus in other students. He started college at a small school in a rural area that lacked diversity, and had few students who shared his experiences. “I noticed there was no discussion of race and equity,” Wilcoxen said. “Because of this, I quickly realized how necessary diversity is in education.” Then he learned about the Institute for Urban Education (IUE) at UMKC and decided to transfer. “The IUE’s mission is to create inclusive and responsive teachers. I knew that I needed to be here,” he said. “I understood what it’s like to not have teachers who look or think like me. In addition, IUE focuses on preparing teachers for urban schools, which is where I want to teach.” Being on campus at UMKC reaffirmed his decision. “The IUE’s mission is to create inclusive and responsive teachers. I knew that I needed to be here.” - Isaia Wilcoxen ”My first day on campus, I felt welcomed and accepted to be myself,” Wilcoxen said. “UMKC offers so many clubs, organizations and services for students of color, LGBTQIA students, religious students and so much more. Coming from a small, private school, I was amazed at how inclusive UMKC is. I immediately wanted to get involved and meet new people.” Currently, Wilcoxen is participating in a paid apprenticeship program teaching at the Academy for Integrated Arts (AFIA.) “IUE has a lot more practicum opportunities for education students,” he said. “The first semester of our senior year, we're required to go three days to practicum, where other education students usually do one. And we also have more opportunities in the community through volunteering. I've gotten to work at AFIA with their after-school program, which is a paid practicum. It has been a great experience.” He says people ask him why he chose to focus on urban education. “The main reason is because urban schools have statistically been underserved and have fewer resources than suburban school districts, or even rural school districts,” Wilcoxen said. “So, there's a lack of teachers, specifically in urban schools because a lot of teachers migrate toward the suburbs, because of better funding and resources. That’s what makes me want to teach in urban schools.” Oct 17, 2023

  • UMKC and MADE MOBB Celebrate Roos Mobb

    The collaboration includes exclusive Roo-inspired streetwear and UMKC alumni-owned businesses at a pop-up event
    The Kansas City community was invited to celebrate the inaugural Roos Mobb collaboration between UMKC and MADE MOBB on October 13 at MADE MOBB’s space in the Crossroads Arts District. The capsule collection included hats, shirts and sweatshirts with exclusive UMKC designs. Vu Radley, one of the founders of MADE MOBB, is a UMKC alum. He was joined by over a dozen alumni-owned businesses at the event. Similar to First Fridays events at their space, there were also performances by various UMKC alumni. Roos Mobb collection pieces are available for purchase in-store at MADE MOBB’s location until October 31. Oct 16, 2023

  • Hallmark Executive Don Hall Jr. Headlines Pride Breakfast

    Hall received the inaugural Stephen Metzler Pride Champion Award at the annual event
    The annual Pride Breakfast at UMKC is a fundraiser, but it’s also a place to celebrate community and allyship. That’s never been more clear than at this year’s breakfast where the inaugural C. Stephen Metzler Pride Champion Award was given to Hallmark’s Don Hall Jr. Metzler, a UMKC alumnus, was a noted philanthropist, HIV/AIDS activist, patron of the arts and business leader in the Kansas City community. He was involved in numerous Kansas City non-profits and organizations, including the Mid-America Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, AIDS Service Foundation of Greater Kansas City and AIDS Walk of Kansas City. A believer in the power of community and connections to create change, Metzler often said he was “saving the world one cocktail party at a time.” Don Hall Jr., executive chairman of the board of directors and former CEO at Hallmark, was awarded the Metzler Pride Champion Award for his support of the LGBTQIA+ community. During his tenure as CEO, Hall made Hallmark the founding corporate partner of the Mid-America Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. He was the first CEO to walk in the AIDS Walk of Kansas City and was instrumental in bringing diverse voices to the table across the civic landscape. Leading a company that serves to foster and celebrate relationships made Hall even more conscious of the need to celebrate people from all walks of life. “This awareness underscores for me how much harder we have to work for all people to feel valued,” Hall said. “All people need to love and be loved, laugh, celebrate, reach out to others.” Hall credits Metzler with inspiring him from a young age. He knew Metzler as the older brother of a classmate when he was a child and said that Metzler was kind and affirming even back then. “I drew inspiration from Steve my whole life,” Hall said. “He was enthusiastic and determined to build understanding. I can’t think of a better example at creating inclusiveness, building humanity and encouraging empathy.” Since 2008, the Pride Breakfast has raised more than $600,000 to support LGBTQIA+ students at UMKC and serves as a way for the university to show support for, and commitment to, LGBTQIA+ students on campus. Funds from the UMKC Pride Breakfast are critical to support programs and scholarships for LGBTQIA+ students — including the Pride Empowerment Fund, which provides emergency assistance to students who experience financial difficulty due to the loss of family support. “This event serves as a meaningful reminder that you have champions,” said Chancellor Mauli Agrawal to students. “UMKC and our community see you, we care about you and we support you as you develop as students and valued individuals.” Oct 10, 2023

  • This Student-Success Program UMKC Invented 50 Years Ago is a Global Game Changer

    Supplemental Instruction helps universities around the world
    University of Missouri-Kansas City junior Grace Miller remembers taking Computer Science 101 last year and feeling apprehensive. She’d never coded before. But then Miller was introduced to Supplemental Instruction, called SI for short, a student-led learning approach UMKC invented 50 years ago. Not to be confused with peer tutoring that’s typically one on one and by assignment, SI is built upon collaborative learning. Research shows that students who study in groups retain 2.5 times more than students who study on their own. “SI focuses on reinforcement of knowledge,” says Miller, who is majoring in media, art and design. “SI also fosters connection with other students and takes away the loneliness from studying.” SI proved successful for Miller because not only was she advised she should be an SI leader, she received a 97% in the course. Indeed, a major bragging point of SI is that participating in sessions will boost your grade a half letter to a whole letter. Read more Inside Higher Ed: UMKC Has Offered Supplemental Instruction for Five DecadesThe Kansas City Star: This Learning Method Boosts Social Skills - and It Started at UMKC UMKC junior Grace Miller is an SI leader and participant.   History and global reach The International Center for Supplemental Instruction is based at UMKC and offers SI resources, training and accreditation to universities throughout the U.S. and around the world. “I believe that SI has made such an impact in higher education because of the community the collaborative learning environment creates,” says Jessica Pearson, executive director of the International Center for Supplemental Instruction and director of UMKC Academic Support and Mentoring. “Students do not just learn course content and study skills, but they also develop friendships and lasting connections with their classmates and campus.” In 1973 at UMKC, then-doctoral student, Deanna Martin, created SI out of a critical university need to retain students, keep academic standards high and help students reach their goal of graduating. Martin piloted the first SI program in a human anatomy class at the UMKC School of Dentistry. SI had elements that were attractive to faculty and students. With a budget increase, SI was placed in additional courses. Other universities started their own SI programs and by 1981, the U.S. Department of Education named SI an Exemplary Education Practice. UMKC has trained faculty and staff from more than 1,500 institutions, including other universities in Missouri and Kansas, from 34 countries around the world. “I take great pride in the fact that SI originated at UMKC and has now made a significant global impact,” says Kristi Holsinger, Ph.D., senior vice provost for student success at UMKC. “While data clearly demonstrates the positive effects of SI participation on students’ performance in specific courses, its far-reaching influence on nurturing enduring skills, such as effective learning strategies, critical thinking abilities and enhanced study habits, is truly immeasurable.“ Key components and results Programs around the world share fundamentals. SI: Targets historically difficult courses, those that have a high percentage of D, F and withdraw Does not identify struggling students; all students in each course are highly encouraged to attend SI sessions. Is voluntary, and students can choose when they want to attend. Employees are trained extensively, and the program supervises SI leaders throughout the semester. Among the accredited universities is Georgia College and State University, which this year celebrated its 10th anniversary of SI and nearly a third of the university’s students use it. In the spring of 2023, 50% of Georgia College students attended SI sessions for classes that are difficult to pass. Of the students who attended SI sessions, only 11% dropped, withdrew or failed the class compared to 27% of those who did not participate in SI.  Purdue University uses SI and says this about the approach: “SI is a low-stakes environment (you won’t be graded!), so don’t be embarrassed to make a mistake or be confused. The leader will use several tools to give you the opportunity to think more critically about course content and develop a deeper understanding of how different concepts connect to one another. This could include small group discussions, games and other hands-on activities to make content practice more fun. Although the leader might not directly answer a question you ask, they will help you to find the answer yourself, which in the long run will be more beneficial to your learning.” SI now at UMKC UMKC sophomore Shekhar Gugnani is an SI leader and participant. Sophomore Shekhar Gugnani, who is pursuing the six-year B.A./M.D. from the UMKC School of Medicine, says SI is his favorite part of the day at UMKC, both as an SI participant and leader. “It makes learning fun,” he says. “It provides limitless creative freedom to reinforce the content.” Gugnani credits SI for his success in the historically challenging Anatomy 219 course his freshman year. This semester, he’s both an SI leader for Anatomy 219 and an SI participant in Medical Biochemistry BMS 9265. During each SI study session – typically an hour twice a week – SI leaders like Gugnani and Miller provide strategies for notetaking, organization and test preparation. They lead discussions and activities over lecture material to review and prepare students for higher levels of success in the class. To prepare for sessions, SI leaders attend all class meetings, take notes, read and understand assigned materials and communicate with the respective professor and SI supervisor. SI is designed to be collaborative, involving all members of the session in hands-on, participatory learning. For example, Miller plans to lead an SI discussion in Computer Science 101 about CSV (comma-separated values) files with large datasets of Netflix programming and students will learn how to organize them by cross referring them with their favorite actors. Gugnani led a recent Anatomy 219 SI session by having teams draw bones in a race. “Students are excited, and they engage with SI,” Gugnani says. “Because of the non-remedial approach, there’s no stigma to it. It’s good for all students.” So why is SI still strong 50 years later? “SI has not stopped working all these years later because the challenges it was designed to address remain the same,” Pearson says. “Many students entering colleges and universities do not understand how to learn effectively in a college setting. We need a space for students to learn how to learn. SI offered that 50 years ago and it still offers it today.” Oct 10, 2023

  • Business Students’ Careers Take Off at Kansas City International Airport

    UMKC professor’s KC connection provides once-in-a-career opportunity to students
    Msgana Zegeye recalls the moment she was asked to assemble the dream team. “Validating, that's the word,” she recalled, describing when Bloch Consulting Lab adviser Marvin Carolina asked her to form a team in her image to work with Vantage Airport Group, the concession developer and manager for the new $1.5 billion Kansas City International Airport terminal. “I think Marvin really saw my passion for leading, managing and operations,” said Zegeye. She got to work and landed on a four-person team to help advise the company. At first they worked on staffing solutions for the new terminal, but they were so successful, the general manager, Lovell Holloway, kept the team on board and expanded their scope of work. Zegeye had never worked with any of the peers she selected, but she’d seen them in action in the mock consulting activities in the Consulting Lab. From that, she was able to recognize each of their strengths and envision how those strengths could be deployed to help Vantage Airport Group. “Nicolas, I felt like would be really good at marketing. He's very innovative.” “With Erik, he is super analytical, and finance is his avenue.” “Henry really likes like logistics. He likes making sure we do everything by the book and in order.” The team got to work, helping vendors at the airport navigate all their business licenses, airport-specific safety regulations and hiring and retainment strategies for their employees. As time went on, Holloway entrusted more responsibilities to the team, including conducting an economic impact study and developing an internship program for Vantage Airport Group to further its work with students. Despite the group’s youth, Holloway said he never doubted their capabilities.  “I'm very fortunate and humbled to be working with these students in the Bloch school," Holloway said. "They've been very great to work with, they've been willing to learn, they have educated us. They add value and have great energy. They're easy human beings to work with, and I'm fortunate as a leader to be able to be entrusted with their careers and their vision of where they want to go in life in the future.”“It was a really cool experience because we got to see how we're helping them firsthand, and that they were actually going to take our advice and learn from it,” Hartung said.  Everyone on the team agrees, the guidance, support and trust from Vantage Airport Group and Holloway, and being allowed to take risks and make mistakes on a real-world project taught them invaluable lessons. “The experience itself is something I would never have thought I would have been able to get at any university because this type of project doesn't really happen all that often,” said Klaas. “UMKC has provided a tremendous amount of opportunity,” Hartung agreed. “I think that's all Kansas City’s about, all the opportunity that it holds for students.” Oct 03, 2023

  • Hallmark’s Don Hall Jr. to Receive Award at 2023 Pride Breakfast

    Hall has supported the LGBTQIA+ community throughout his tenure as a Hallmark leader, including his time as president and CEO
    The University of Missouri-Kansas City will honor Don Hall Jr., executive chairman of the board of directors at Hallmark, with the inaugural C. Stephen Metzler Pride Champion Award at the annual UMKC Pride Breakfast. This award recognizes an individual (LGBTQIA+ or ally) who embodies Steve Metzler’s legacy of making Kansas City a better place for the LGBTQIA+ community through volunteerism, philanthropy and leading by example. Don Hall, Jr. Hall was president and CEO of Hallmark, serving in that role from 2002 to 2019 when he became executive chairman. During his tenure as CEO, he made Hallmark the first founding corporate partner of the Mid-America Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (now Mid-America LGBT Chamber of Commerce) in Kansas City. He was instrumental in bringing diverse voices to the table across the civic landscape to champion support for the LGBTQIA+ community. Hallmark’s commitment to inclusion is part of its long-standing beliefs and values; it has consistently ranked as a top company to work for as acknowledged by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Corporate Equality Index – the nation’s foremost benchmarking survey and report measuring corporate policies and practices related to LGBTQIA+ workplace equality. “We’re thrilled to present Don Hall Jr. with the inaugural C. Stephen Metzler Pride Champion Award,” said UMKC Chancellor Mauli Agrawal. “Don is truly an example of what it means to be inclusive, and his efforts have made Kansas City a better place for our students and all of us to live. We are proud to honor his legacy here.” The 2023 Pride Breakfast is 7:30 to 9 a.m. Oct. 10 in Swinney Center. Tickets can be purchased at Since 2008, the UMKC Pride Breakfast has raised more than $600,000 to support LGBTQIA+ students at UMKC and shows our university’s support of, and commitment to, LGBTQIA+ students on campus. Funds from the UMKC Pride Breakfast are critical to support programs and scholarships for LGBTQIA+ students — including the Pride Empowerment Fund, which provides emergency assistance to students who experience financial difficulty due to the loss of family support. Sep 25, 2023

  • How MADE MOBB’s Vu Radley Changed KC’s Streetwear Scene

    UMKC alum releases exclusive UMKC merch only available at inaugural Roos Mobb event
    Did you know that a group of kangaroos is called a mob? Well, UMKC alum Vu Radley (B.A.’12) had no idea when he started MADE MOBB with his friends 10 years ago. The streetwear brand is known for its collaborations with various Kansas City businesses, including the Chiefs (now a UMKC partner), KC Current and Café Ca Phé. Like kismet, the brand is now collaborating with UMKC for its very first Roos Mobb event. Taking place from 6-9 p.m. on Fri., Oct. 13 at MADE MOBB’s space in the Crossroads Arts District, the vendor market will also feature various alumni-owned businesses. Now that Vu has come full-circle with UMKC merch and an exciting event partnership, we sat down with him to reflect on how he and MADE MOBB grew to where they are now. How did MADE MOBB start? MADE MOBB started in 2012, although we did not drop our first capsule collection until 2013. It was right after I finished my degree in Studio Art at UMKC. I was working at a corporate job when I met two guys (Mark Launiu and Jesse Phouangphet), and we all came up with the idea to start a business. The financial background and events experience from the two, combined with my experience of printing DIY shirts in high school, formed the foundation of MADE MOBB. We started working weekly on it as a passion project to simply celebrate our love for streetwear and design. It was what we did after we clocked in our 40 hours at the jobs we were in at the time. But now, it’s what we live off of as a full-time business. Did the streetwear initially start off as KC-based? Our x KC x design created in 2013 was one of our first KC products, and is now one of our signature designs. But, it wasn’t until 2015 after the Royals win when wholesalers began to pick up our products and focused specifically on our KC designs. That was also when the KC local-wear scene started to kick off, and we started incorporating more Kansas City elements into our pieces. How did your experience at UMKC impact the success of MADE MOBB? Although I grew up with the arts, I never really thought about the digital side of it, which was why I took classes like introduction to graphic design and typography at UMKC. These classes changed my view on graphic design and made me realize it was a space I could get into and build a career. UMKC was also where I was able to sharpen my design chops and learn important skills, such as how to put a design together that goes to print. The classes I took, from drawing classes to art history classes, made me realize that I might have found my career path. There is a lot of KC influence in your collaborations. Could you talk more about that and where you see it going in the future? MADE MOBB has always been about collaboration. There is a lot of talent in Kansas City, and it is fulfilling to be able to support the community and elevate Kansas City businesses, especially small businesses, whether that is with a capsule collaboration or having them pop up in our space. I want to continue doing this and also focus on collaborating with not just businesses, but also local Kansas City creatives. With the community, we want to continue hosting events. First Fridays was one of the first events we held, even back at our Grand Street location. It’s our favorite time of the month. We have food trucks outside and 15-20 local vendors that pop up in our shop and sell their own stuff. We have local artists performing their own sets too. We want all our people in our space to show us what they are working on, while also sharing what we are working on.  What are you most excited about with the Roos Mobb event? Graduating from UMKC and then being able to do a collaboration with them 10 years later is just a full-circle moment. A lot of things have happened in my career that have made sense, and this is definitely one of them. So, I’m excited to see this event come to life and hope we can replicate something like our First Fridays for Roos Mobb. Also, having businesses that I did not know were UMKC-alum owned popping up at the event will be exciting. I do hope a lot of students come out as there is a lot of talent from UMKC alumni who are still in the city, and it’s something not a lot of people are aware of unless an event like this happens. Sep 19, 2023

  • Nursing and Engineering Programs Place Among Top 100 in Nation

    U.S. News and World Report releases annual undergraduate program rankings
    The University of Missouri-Kansas City had two undergraduate programs rank among the Top 100 programs in the country, according to the U.S. News and World Report 2024 Best Colleges rankings. The undergraduate nursing program from the School of Nursing and Health Studies and the undergraduate engineering program from the School of Science and Engineering each placed at No. 86 on the list in their respective categories. In total, more than 650 nursing programs and more than 270 engineering programs that offer only bachelor’s and master’s degrees were considered in the U.S. News and World Report rankings. The School of Nursing and Health Studies is proud of their ranking, said Joy Roberts, dean of the school. "The UMKC School of Nursing and Health Studies is proud that our Bachelor of Science in Nursing program has been recognized in the Top 100 undergraduate nursing programs in the U.S,” Roberts said. “Our hardworking, well-prepared BSN graduates are quickly hired by health-care institutions in the Kansas City metro as well as across the country. Our faculty, staff and administration are proud to support our students and we applaud their success!" School of Science and Engineering dean Kevin Truman is glad for the recognition of the university’s four engineering programs – biomedical, civil, mechanic, and electrical and computer. "We are thrilled to have received this ranking and continue to elevate and expand our offerings," said Truman. "With our biomedical engineering program that just started this fall and the $120 million Healthcare Delivery and Innovation Building that is currently planned for the UMKC Health Sciences Campus, we are constantly thinking of new ways to enhance the learning experience at UMKC." Two more programs were recognized by the U.S. News and World Report as well. The undergraduate business degree from the Bloch School of Management was ranked No. 159 out of 520 programs. The School of Science and Engineering had their computer science and information technology program ranked No. 192 out of 550 programs. Sep 18, 2023

  • Nursing Students Learn about Blood Transfusions by Using Escape Rooms and Zombies

    Simulation lab trains future nurses to provide care under pressure
    For Christine Zimmerman, R.N., Ph.D., everything is a teachable moment for her nursing students, even escaping zombies. As director of clinical simulation at the UMKC School of Nursing and Health Studies, she designs and implements patient scenarios for the school’s simulation lab. In the latest scenario, Zimmerman combined an escape room experience with a zombie apocalypse. Students solve puzzles and follow clues while competing for the best time to get the medical equipment they need to provide a blood transfusion to their “patient.” To complete the training and escape the room, the students need to complete each task of the procedure, which prevents their patient from becoming a zombie.Over the years, Zimmerman and her team have created a wide variety of simulations for students, from helping a woman give birth to treating gunshot wounds. The simulations are designed to provide students the opportunity to practice their clinical skills and decision-making abilities in a managed environment that reduces some of the pressures involved in a traditional clinical setting. In the simulation lab, students can focus on the training at hand without the worry of keeping a patient alive or navigating interpersonal dynamics of coworkers.The lab, on the fourth floor of the UMKC School of Nursing and Health Studies, mimics the layout of a hospital, with six patient rooms, a nurses’ station and a medication storage area. The school has nine manikins — models used for medical training that act as patients during the simulations. Zimmerman and her team operate the manikins from a nearby control room in the lab, speaking as the patient through a microphone during the simulation. They take their acting seriously, using different voices and incorporating sound effects.According to School of Nursing and Health Studies Dean Joy Roberts, simulation is a critical experience for nursing students as they progress through the program. “Typically, our undergraduate nursing students are given hands-on experience in hospitals and community health settings,” Roberts said. As an added layer to their training, the simulation lab “ensures that all of our students get experience with certain health issues, while ensuring the patient interaction is as close to real life as possible,” she added.Zimmerman keeps up with the latest advances in nursing simulation education. She said research shows that a competitive gaming environment helps students learn by adding fun while lowering stress. A few years ago, she noticed a growing trend using escape rooms in simulation labs, and decided to try it. Setting it up was a daunting process, she said. She spent almost two years getting it right, and launched it the spring semester of 2023.“We learned that getting the clues together was the hardest part,” Zimmerman said. “You have to think about how each clue builds to the next one, and how the students are going to progress through the steps to solve it.” As in all simulations, students in the escape room exercise are into divided into groups of four. The groups then compete for the shortest time in finishing the required steps. Competition means the groups need team names picked by the students. “Public Enema” and “N’Syncope” are just two of the many clever team name selections.For nursing student Joyce Young, who is in the final year of the program, the escape room required more teamwork than previous simulations in which she had participated. A former police officer, she was happy to bring her investigative abilities to the team.“With the escape room, I had to really rely on my other team members, and we worked really well together,” Young said. “Everyone brought their own personality and skill sets, because one person’s strength was another person’s weakness.”According to Zimmerman, she focused on blood transfusions because the procedure can be necessary in emergency situations, but also during routine care for a slow bleed or low hemoglobin. The steps never change, and they must be administered in a very specific order. If a student team competing for the best time during the exercise misses a step, a minute is added to their overall time. Zimmerman said students don’t often get experience with blood transfusions during clinical rotations. “With this simulation, they tell us they feel more confident with the procedure, and have at least received hands-on experience that makes them feel more prepared to address the issue when it comes up during their nursing career,” she said.When Zimmerman and her team started testing the zombie escape room simulation, they were surprised that they needed to create many rules about what the students can and can’t touch.“The students went absolutely insane,” Zimmerman said. “They were going through the sharps (needle disposal) container, digging in the trash and climbing up on sinks to lift up ceiling tiles.”Since the students are competing for the best time, Zimmerman wanted to limit distractions. She’s added a list of what’s in play for the escape room and what’s off limits. Although it helped to keep the students on task, mishaps still occur occasionally. For the blood transfusion, students are required to transfer fake blood from an IV bag through tubing connected to the patient. Clamps on the tubing help control the flow of blood. “One group who was running out of time, started opening all the clamps to speed things up,” Zimmerman said. “Blood was running everywhere in the room; it was absolute chaos.” After each simulation session, Zimmerman sits down with the students to debrief, evaluating what went right and what could be improved. For the escape room, she uses the time to focus in on the lessons in each clue and puzzle. In a recent debrief, she praised the group on how quickly they picked up that certain letters were underlined on the back of the IV bag. “I like to talk about their focus on the small details, because there are so many things in health care that you have to be attuned to,” Zimmerman said. “Your patient can say something that seems tiny, but could be part of the bigger picture.” The escape room simulation challenges the students to put a puzzle together to see the big picture. When it comes together, it’s one of Zimmerman’s favorite moments. “I love listening to them when they solve a clue and scream in the room,” Zimmerman said. "It absolutely makes me happy if they have a good time and are engaged.” Sep 15, 2023

  • Statistics Professor and Medical Student Undergraduate Research Project Published in National Journal

    Undergraduate Research Success Inspires Additional Projects
    UMKC offers a unique undergraduate experience for students looking to get involved in research projects across all academic units. Through several different programs and grants, Roos can take part in meaningful research that can not only improve their resumes, but give them skills and tools they can use in the future. Medical student Vagmi Kantheti received a Summer Undergraduate Research Opportunity (SUROP) grant in 2022 where she worked with Billie Anderson, Ph.D., assistant professor of applied statistics, Majid Bani-Yaghoub, chair of the mathematics and statistics department and Scott Curtis from the UMKC library to develop a corpus of full-text journal articles related to the Spanish flu of 1918. “It has been a real pleasure to work with and introduce our undergraduate students to a research project,” Anderson said. “Many undergraduate students are not aware of all the details and hard work that goes into a research project. By working with undergraduate students, it allows them to obtain exposure to another part of university life that they may not always be exposed to. This exposure to undergraduate research could spark interest in a student to attend graduate school. Students get to experience meeting deadlines, following specific instructions, and creating a final product, all of which will assist them in their professional careers. “ The project, which is divided into two parts, went on to be presented at regional and national conferences. The first part, which focused on developing the methodology for using the statistical language R, was presented at the Mathematical American Association Missouri Section meeting in April 2022. This work was also published in the Journal of Information Science. “I am so happy for Dr. Anderson who has been working very hard at this project and many others and believe she very much deserves to be published and recognized for her work,” Vagmi said. “I am very happy with the outcomes of my work and am so grateful that she decided to let me be a part of this work. ”The second part of the project entailed applying a textmining algorithm to determine any connection or “lessons learned” from the Spanish flu that could be applied to the COVID-19 pandemic using a text mining model. That research was presented at the Joint Statistical Meetings of the American Statistical Association in Washington, D.C. in August 2022. “Dr. Anderson was truly an amazing mentor and she helped me be not as fearful of doing further research in fields that I have better knowledge in, like biological research,” Vagmi said. “It was clear that the people I worked with were very capable and were more than willing to help me grow as a part of the research team. Dr. Anderson even let me make and present the work that I did in a math and statistics conference that was held on UMKC campus.” SUROP recipients present their findings every year at the Symposium of Undergraduate Research and Creative Scholarship. It gives each student, like Vagmi, the opportunity to share their projects among their peers and colleagues. The success of the project through SUROP inspired Billie Anderson to put together a group of undergraduate Bloch students and lead a summer project to put together another corpus focusing on reject inference. “Before this summer, the idea of undergraduate research was very intimidating to me. And, with no prior experience, my only hope was to learn more about research and what it looks like at UMKC,” Hunter Meisner, a student who worked on the research, said. “Not only did I achieve that, but I achieved it with help from the people here at UMKC.” Anderson received $8,000 in funding for the project to be split up amongst four students, $2,000 each, as part of a Strategic Investment in Applied Statistics grant from the Office of Undergraduate Research and Creative Scholarships. The corpus of over 100 documents will be used to then develop a literature review of the loan outcome status for rejected applicants, in turn developing a credit score model without bias of only accepted applicants. The consolidation of the information and documents will allow for a text mining model to be used to uncover potential areas where more research on rejected applications is required. The opportunity to conduct undergraduate research provides students with valuable experience where they can learn and develop research skills than can help them in the future. “While I am not a finance major, this experience was incredibly valuable because it was my first time conducting undergraduate research,” Meisner said. “But, more than a learning experience, it was an opportunity to show myself and others that I can contribute to the world of academia.” “If you don’t take opportunities that are in front of you, you may miss out on future opportunities,” Cody Harman, who participated in the research, said.   Sep 15, 2023

  • It’s a Zoo Out There for Dental Hygiene Students

    UMKC School of Dentistry offers clinical experience at the Kansas City Zoo and Aquarium
    Macila Arnold knew it was an unusual day for her as a UMKC dental hygiene student. First off, the day started at the Kansas City Zoo and Aquarium. “We came in to work on some swamp monkeys,” Arnold said.   “We got to watch the doctors do their annual visits, do the physical with swamp monkeys and then we got to scale and clean their teeth, and polish them up, just like we would with our human patients.” Arnold is taking advantage of an opportunity with the UMKC School of Dentistry. Through a partnership with the Kansas City Zoo and Aquarium, the dental hygiene program offers students the Zoo Practicum. Each spring semester, senior dental hygiene students like Arnold, who was joined by her classmate Sidney Dennis, spend time cleaning the teeth of all kinds of zoo animals. “The experience has been very unique. I know it’s something that I’m never going to forget,” Dennis said. The collaborative partnership between the School of Dentistry and the Kansas City Zoo and Aquarium started in 1994. Dr. Wm Kirk Suedmeyer, the Zoo’s director of animal health and conservation research, sees great value in the expertise the students provide. “It really helps, and they do a good job providing good dental hygiene for our animals,” Suedmeyer said. The UMKC School of Dentistry provides students with a wide variety of clinical experiences across the Kansas City metropolitan area and beyond. “We have different rotations here at the School of Dentistry: We go out to local elementary schools to give fluoride and sealants and do all kinds of screenings with them,” Dennis said. “There’s a lot of real-world opportunities at the School of Dentistry.” Originally from Springfield, Missouri, Dennis appreciates how much of Kansas City she’s seen through her rotations. “Being able to get involved in the community through hygiene has been just so much fun,” she said. “I’ve loved my experience here in Kansas City.” All that time in the community helped Arnold find her niche of public health within the dental field. "Kansas City has definitely been our classroom by giving us the opportunity to go outside the School of Dentistry and just our patients. We get to go out and do the rotations where we get to go out and work with a diverse population." — Macila Arnold (B.S.D.H. '23) “I feel like having that exposure and getting to work in the Kansas City area has helped me find my own passion within dental hygiene.”   Sep 12, 2023

  • UMKC Divine Nine Garden Deepens Community Connections

    Placement in the heart of campus reflects an environment of invigorating multiculturalism, globalism and inclusion
    The University of Missouri-Kansas City celebrated the new Divine Nine gardens in the heart of campus with a ceremonial unveiling. Hundreds of people from across the Kansas City region representing the Divine Nine Black Greek organizations that make up the National Pan-Hellenic Council gathered in the Quad, proudly dressed in the colors –  crimson, emerald, gold, royal blue, black and beyond – that represent their fraternity or sorority. A tribute to the contributions and presence of the Divine Nine fraternities and sororities, the garden is also a gathering place for students and alumni to reflect on and celebrate the achievements of their respective organizations. For more than a century, the Divine Nine have championed progress, tackling challenges from civil rights to racial justice and leadership cultivation. Those who are members of this council know their membership goes far beyond college years, offering lifelong chances for networking and leadership. “I am humbled to be here today to share in and witness the unveiling of the UMKC Divine Nine Garden monuments,” said Michele Smith, Ph.D., vice provost for Student Affairs and dean of students. “The UMKC Divine Nine Garden celebrates the work of our hands and the legacy of kinship, allyship, interdependence and impact the Divine Nine inspires across our campus and within our communities.” Groups stood next to the tall granite monument emblazoned with the Greek letters of their organization. Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Iota Phi Theta Fraternity Increased visibility of the Divine Nine organizations was one initiative developed with Chancellor Mauli Agrawal’s work with student leaders in the African American Cultivating Excellence Program to generate positive change on campus. Contributions by the Sunderland Foundation, the UMKC NPHC students, the Chancellor and Provost offices, Hollis and Miller Architects, among others, supported the conception and creation of the garden.  “Establishing this garden on the Quad – the very core of our campus – is symbolic of our recognition of these important fraternities and sororities, their significant national contributions, across the Kansas City area and here at UMKC,” Agrawal said. “We are proud to commemorate the opening of the Divine Nine Garden, with recognition for each organization.”  Calvin Flemons, Alpha Phi Alpha Delta Rho chapter president, addressed the crowd and recognized the support of the UMKC community in the garden’s creation.   “I speak for us all when I say, with so much gratitude and joy in our hearts, that being a part of this history at UMKC will be unforgettable,” Flemons said. “So let it be known that today and for years to come, NPHC will continue to make an impact on this campus and in our community.” Keichanda Dees-Burnett, assistant dean of students and director of Multicultural Student Affairs, expressed her pride in being a Divine Nine member and a UMKC alumna.   “When I reflect on my experiences as a UMKC Black Greek alum and staff member, I am proud to have been able to contribute and witness how far our university has come,” Dees-Burnett said. “The campus has grown and there are now so many more people and spaces where Black students can find their sense of belonging. Starting today, the Divine Nine Garden will serve as an additional space and a symbol to current and future African American students at UMKC that they belong here.” Following the dedication, participants visited the Miller Nichols Library and Learning Center lobby to view, “Legacy in Bloom,” a Divine Nine exhibit designed to coincide with the opening of the garden,  which showcases each of the nine Greek organizations’ history and their connection to UMKC. The exhibit will run throughout this academic year ending in May. It is on display in the lobby of Miller Nichols, as well as on the fourth floor in the Dean’s Gallery. Sep 11, 2023

  • Welcoming the 2023 UMKC Trustees’ Scholars

    Prestigious program for outstanding scholars launches college careers
    The newest class of UMKC Trustees’ Scholars took their first steps toward outstanding college careers and bright futures at their welcome reception. The seven recipients were part of a pool of 200 applicants, and many will become campus leaders. The UMKC Trustees’ Scholars Program provides a fully funded educational and experiential program for a select group of first-time students at UMKC. The scholarship is a collaboration between the university and the UMKC Trustees. The program gives students access to UMKC Trustees’ knowledge, experience and mentorship as well as specialized guidance from key UMKC staff. UMKC Trustees Chair Debby Ballard welcomed the scholars at a reception August 18. “The Trustees’ Scholars program is very close to my heart,” Ballard said. “I have mentored two scholars in the past, and I am currently a mentor to a scholar who is a dance major at the Conservatory. Meeting with my scholars was always inspiring. I learned a lot from their perspectives, and their optimism and enthusiasm are uplifting.” Suzanne Shank, chair of the Trustees’ Scholars Committee, serves as a mentor. “The scholars program is the signature program of the Trustees,” Shank said. “The students we are celebrating today were handpicked from almost 200 applicants who  represented the best of the best in our region. We know they will be extraordinary representatives of the Trustees, the program and the university.” UMKC Provost Jennifer Lundgren welcomed the incoming scholars. “You are now part of the Roo family,” Lundgren said. “Being a Trustees’ Scholar is an incredible and unique opportunity that few students are awarded. The connections you’ll make and the rigorous course work you will undertake, will help prepare you to shine in the careers you’ll pursue when you graduate.” Lundgren assured the scholars’ parents that they were in the right place. “Thank you for getting them here,” she said. “We have developed a culture of care that will help them build resilience and responsibility. I assure you, that if they need someone, I’m here.” Each student had the opportunity to share their story of what brought them to UMKC and their aspirations. Laila Atkins Atkins is from Grandview and is studying political science. Driven and focused, she feels fortunate to have the opportunity to be a Trustees’ Scholar at UMKC and getting to know the other scholars. While she’s a little nervous, she’s excited to challenge herself.  Her Trustee mentor is Donald Maxwell, an attorney with his own private practice. Maisy Blanton Blanton is from Benton, Kansas and is studying communication and digital media, with a minor in race and gender studies. In high school, Blanton wrote an essay about being queer for Young Queer America and received pushback from the school board. She chose UMKC because of the loving and supportive atmosphere. She is preparing for a career in public relations and journalism. Her Trustee mentor is Steve Doyal, a retired executive with Hallmark Cards. Andrew Custis Custis is from St. Louis and is studying earth and environmental science. When he toured campus, he met faculty who had worked in Africa at Lake Chad and another who had studied volcanology and geology. “I valued the effect I could have on the world. That’s why I chose UMKC.” His Trustee mentor is Kyle Vena, vice president of new campus development with the American Royal Association. Atlas Mallams Mallams is from Liberty and is studying computer science with a minor in sociology. “When I visited UMKC I had a feeling of community. I felt safe and welcome. I could see the school welcomed diversity and different economic backgrounds. Also, there’s a Cheesecake Factory down the street!” Their Trustee mentor is Leigh Anne Taylor Knight, executive director and chief operating officer at the DeBruce Foundation. Yasmina Mokhtar Mokhtar is from Joplin and is studying sociology and Spanish. She has a small hand-embroidery business and plans to go to law school. Her family is Muslim and from Egypt, and the diversity at UMKC was appealing. “I wanted to meet other people of color,” she said. Her Trustee mentor is Heather Humphrey, senior vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary at Evergy. Alexis Reed Reed is from Kansas City and attended school in the Center district. She is pursuing a degree in biology, with an interest in pathology; she is minoring in Spanish. She chose UMKC because she wanted to be close to her home and family. “And I love the diversity,” she said. “I like to learn about new people.” Her Trustee mentor is Joseph Reuben, chief medical officer at Menorah Medical Center. Micaela Richards Richards is from Lee’s Summit and is pursuing her degree in business administration, with a minor in political science. She was DECA president in high school and is proud of her work ethic. She plans to pursue a career in law. “I chose UMKC because I felt heard.” Her Trustee mentor is Donna Ward, senior vice president of the administrative services division at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. Sep 11, 2023

  • UMKC Now Has A Football Team: The Kansas City Chiefs

    Five-year partnership centers on student recruitment, scholarships and success programs
    The University of Missouri-Kansas City announced today that it is an official higher education partner of the Kansas City Chiefs, the 2022 World Champions. “Kansas City’s university is thrilled to join with Kansas City’s football team to bring exceptional real-world learning experiences to our students,” said UMKC Vice Chancellor of Strategic Marketing and Communications Anne Hartung Spenner. “There is great forward momentum in our city and our university, and we look forward to building on this continuing wave of excellence in our community through this partnership.”“We’re very excited to roll out this new education partnership with the administration, faculty, staff and students at UMKC,” said Chiefs Vice President of Partnership Strategy and Development Kim Hobbs. “We think the relationship between the team and the university will present extremely unique opportunities and access for their students moving forward and will reinforce the idea that Roos should ‘Never Choose the Norm.’”The five-year partnership between UMKC and the Kansas City Chiefs focuses on student success and recruitment efforts. Opportunities for UMKC students include scholarships as well as leadership, mentorship and career-shadowing within the Chiefs organization. Events for prospective students include stadium tours and other programs.The partnership between the two organizations - both pillars of the city - is a natural one. Each founded by innovative entrepreneurs and pioneers - William Volker (UMKC) and Lamar Hunt (Chiefs) - the two organizations each have worldwide stakeholders. UMKC attracts students from more than 75 countries and the Chiefs’ fanbase spans the globe. The Chiefs and UMKC also share many connections through alumni, students, faculty and staff, including:• Amy Patel, M.D., professor of the UMKC School of Medicine and an alumnae, was the 2022 Kansas City Chiefs NFL Fan of the Year.• Chiefs Safety Justin Reid created a coding camp hosted this summer at UMKC.• Union Station is the site of Chiefs fandom in large part thanks to UMKC alumni George Guastello, its chief executive officer, and Michael Tritt, its chief marketing officer.• Jerry Blanton, associate director of UMKC Student Union, is a former Kansas City Chiefs linebacker and his son, Kendall Blanton, was a member of the Chiefs in the most recent Super Bowl.• Numerous UMKC alumni work for the Chiefs including Ishmael Shumate (BBA ’20, MBA ’22), philanthropy and community programming coordinator, or have worked for them, including dental hygienist Ashley Hobbs (B.S.D.H. ’11), who was a Chiefs Cheerleader.To commemorate the new partnership with the Kansas City Chiefs, UMKC is planning a campuswide celebration Sept. 7 ahead of the season opener that evening, and a Red Friday Roos Tailgate on Sept. 22.Yet another thing the two organizations have in common: mascots named for their beloved hometown. Both KC Wolf of the Chiefs and KC Roo of UMKC will attend the celebrations.Earlier this year, Kansas City’s university entered into a partnership with another city favorite, the Kansas City Zoo & Aquarium. The five-year partnership funds improvements to the Australia new habitat, where kangaroos live, and provides learning opportunities from UMKC students. The university’s mascot was inspired by kangaroos at the zoo, and the classic Roo was drawn by Walt Disney. UMKC also is a longtime partner of Sporting KC, and the campus community has enjoyed that relationship for more than a decade. Sep 06, 2023

  • New UMKC School of Medicine Building Will Transform Health-Care Access in Missouri

    The expanded footprint in St. Joseph, Missouri is designed to train rural health-care providers
    The University of Missouri-Kansas City broke ground on a new $14.5 million medical building for its School of Medicine campus in St. Joseph, Missouri. “Through our investments in the St. Joseph campus, UMKC is answering the call to help ensure all Missourians have access to the health care they deserve,” said UMKC Chancellor Mauli Agrawal. “Today’s groundbreaking ceremony marks a catalyst in our state and region that will be felt for decades to come.” The 22,000-square-foot building will transform health-care access for Missourians by training future health care providers who are committed to rural medicine, supporting research and providing care to people in St. Joseph and the surrounding area. The building will feature the latest medical teaching and learning technology. There will be four exam rooms designed to simulate real-world patient interactions and dedicated study and meeting spaces to support student collaboration. It’s expected to open in 2025. Rendering provided by Clark & Enersen “The physical environment for medical students is important: Using cutting-edge architecture and technological best practices, this new building creates physical spaces that advance active learning, teamwork and interdisciplinary collaboration,” said UMKC School of Medicine Dean Mary Anne Jackson. “This campus will give UMKC the tools to train hundreds of talented medical professionals so that they can go on to provide the highest-quality care to our neighbors throughout Missouri.” Missouri is facing a severe physician shortage, with nearly half of the rural counties in the state lacking adequate access to hospital health care. Research shows medical students who have experience in rural medicine during their residency programs are more likely to practice medicine in rural settings.Physicians who practice in rural areas face numerous challenges. They care for a population of patients with increased risk for many conditions compared to urban and suburban patients, Jackson said. These include higher levels of chronic diseases such as COPD and heart failure, addiction and cancer diagnoses. At the same time, rural physicians encounter limited access to needed specialists, including cardiologists, oncologists and addiction specialists. To help fill health-care gaps, the UMKC School of Medicine partnered with Mosaic Life Care in 2021 to train physicians at its St. Joseph location, but the program has since outgrown its space.“We are excited to see our partnership with the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine grow and prosper on our St. Joseph campus,” said Chief Executive Officer Mike Poore, Mosaic Life Care. “We have the opportunity to shape the future of rural health care and address the shortage of physicians in our region. This extended footprint for the UMKC School of Medicine bridges that gap, especially knowing that students training in rural programs are three times as likely to remain in practice in those areas.” The new building will incorporate design elements to symbolize the statewide impact of the UMKC St. Joseph campus. A large artistic map will be installed near the entryway, pinpointing UMKC medical program partners throughout Missouri and Kansas. This installation is meant to showcase the strength of the existing system and will include the ability for UMKC to add future partners as it expands its rural education network.So far in three years of the UMKC School of Medicine program in St. Joseph, students have logged 19,764 clinical contact hours in medically underserved areas. In addition to Mosaic, they have practiced in other clinics in St. Joseph, Albany, Cameron, Chillicothe, Maryville and Mound City, Missouri.Emma Smith is part of the program’s first cohort of students. She said doing rotations in Chillicothe gave her unique experiences in understanding and overcoming barriers to care in rural areas.“I have learned so much during my time at UMKC, and some of my strongest learning experiences have been during my rural family medicine and internal medicine rotations,” Smith said. “Expanding the UMKC School of Medicine St. Joseph campus is a benefit to the region because it provides additional resources for students to live, work and train in a community with unique patient needs.”This new medical education facility represented strong support and help from federal and Missouri leaders. Of the total $14.5 million cost, $13 million was designated from federal funds and $1.5 million came from state funding. Former Senator Roy Blunt was instrumental in championing federal funds for the new building in a 2022 spending bill, which also included $2.5 million for the UMKC School of Medicine to expand its behavioral health training at the St. Joseph campus. "Missouri is facing a physician shortage, creating major challenges for rural communities," Blunt said. "As the former chairman of the appropriations subcommittee that funds the Department of Health and Human Services, I was a strong advocate for the UMKC School of Medicine St. Joseph campus expansion and its important work in training physicians who will be uniquely qualified to provide care where it's needed most. I am glad to see UMKC breaking ground on the new building today that will strengthen our rural communities by providing quality care to families in underserved areas across the state." In addition to the contributions from Blunt, Missouri State Rep. Brenda Shields was instrumental in the creation of the UMKC School of Medicine St. Joseph campus and spoke at the groundbreaking event. “It has been exciting to be involved in this project from the very beginning. When I spoke to the students at the first white coat ceremony and heard their passion for rural medicine, it was clear to me we were accomplishing what we set out to do—to bring better health care to rural Missouri,” Shields said. “This school will be the premier location for rural medical training in the United States, and it is right here in northwest Missouri.” UMKC has a strong history of expanding access to rural health care education programs in Missouri. In addition to the School of Medicine program, the university operates satellite campuses for the UMKC School of Pharmacy at the University of Missouri in Columbia and Missouri State University in Springfield. Here's what other supporters who spoke at the groundbreaking event had to say: “This expansion is a game changer for rural health care in the region," said U.S. Congressman Sam Graves, a sixth-generation family farmer who grew up in northwestern Missouri. "Health-care access in north Missouri depends on the availability of rural doctors. If we want more rural doctors, we need more rural training. I’m thrilled that UMKC and Mosaic have come together to make this happen in St. Joseph and I can’t wait to see the impact this will have on north Missouri.” “This is a textbook case of how our communities and the University of Missouri System should be collaborating," said Michael Williams, chair of the Board of Curators. “These partnerships will lead to improved health care across the state, and that means a better quality of life for every Missouri citizen.” “This project is a tremendous example of how the University of Missouri System is transforming our state’s critical workforce and supporting rural health,” said University of Missouri President Mun Choi. “The new campus will increase access to essential care for all Missourians while preparing the next generation of providers to serve close to home and address the shortage of rural health care providers. Aug 28, 2023

  • A Conference for the Ages

    Legacy families come together for centennial celebration
    This year at the Midwest Dental Conference, the UMKC School of Dentistry celebrated 100 years of gathering for an annual alumni meeting. For some alumni, their first experience at the conference wasn’t as a dentist, or even as a dental student – but instead, as a kid, tagging along with their parents or grandparents. Those childhood family trips to MDC are often just the beginning of a deep connection with the School of Dentistry that the school’s alumni share. Mark Mosier (D.D.S. ’85) remembers attending the alumni meetings with his dad, Richard Mosier (D.D.S. ’54), and grandfather, Harry Mosier (D.D.S. 1922), in the 1970s. According to Mark, Harry was close friends with Roy Rinehart, former dean of the School of Dentistry and the namesake of the Rinehart Foundation. Harry liked to  tell a story about an alumni meeting in the 1930s where the two friends and their wives were seated together at the banquet. It was a table for six people, but it was just the four of them. Harry looked around and noticed another couple sitting by themselves, while everyone else was cliqued up, lost in their own worlds, catching up with their buddies. “My grandfather and Dean Rinehart were not the kind of people to ignore others,” Mosier said. “They were very inclusive and social.” The two men went over and introduced themselves to Albert and Ruth Mizzy, who had traveled to the conference from New York City. They later learned the Mizzys owned a dental supply company that would later become the worldwide manufacturer of medical and dental supplies, Mizzy, Inc. Harry and Roy insisted the couple join their table. The new group quickly formed a close connection. “They all became great friends,” Mosier said. “The Mizzys would come visit for the holidays, they’d go hunting together. And they came back to that meeting year after year.” Mark Mosier started attending MDC when he was just five years old. Now 65, this year’s meeting is a special one for him. He attended with his niece Kiralyn Mosier, who graduated from the School of Dentistry in May. “Kiralyn will be the fourth generation Mosier graduating from UMKC,” Mark Mosier said. “I am so proud she is continuing the legacy we have. We’re all very excited.” The Samples are another legacy family that had a strong turnout for this year’s MDC. Kyle Samples (D.D.S. ’11) and his brother, Stuart Samples (D.D.S. ’07), are partners at McCoy Samples Mattingly Dental Clinic in Carrolton, Missouri. The two have been attending MDC with their dad, James Samples (D.D.S. ’71), for as long as they can remember. “I remember going when I was six years old, hanging out with the kids of Dad’s alumni buddies,” said Kyle Samples. “Now, my kids love doing that too. They look forward to it all year.” This year, another generation joined the mix as Stuart’s daughter, Emily Samples, attended MDC with him. Now a sophomore at the University of Missouri, Emily plans to apply to dental school after undergrad. Kyle’s wife, Krystal, and their two children also made the drive down to Kansas City, making this year’s conference a little bit of a family vacation. “In 50-plus years, I’ve only missed one (MDC), when I was serving in the military,” James Samples said. “I love having my boys with me at the meetings. It’s wonderful. I’m so proud of them.” James remembers the earlier years he attended the conference fondly. He and his classmates would compare notes on the continuing education each day, trade clinical stories and share memories about dental faculty. According to James, his classmates would go out on the town, but he and his wife Maggie would forgo the partying to have a quiet dinner with other married classmates. “It’s about reconnecting with special friends,” James said, “and shooting the bull.” Technically, the name Midwest Dental Conference was adopted in 1994. But UMKC alumni have connected over oral health education and comraderie since at least 1923, when the UMKC Dental Alumni Association first met. The Dental Hygienists’ Alumni Association eventually joined the conference in the years that followed. This year’s conference, held April 13–16, celebrated those 100 years of meetings by welcoming 2,500 attendees and exhibitors to the heart of Kansas City. Presented by the UMKC Dental and Dental Hygienist’s Alumni Associations, the conference featured nearly 40 lectures and hands-on sessions across two Crown Center hotels. The enthusiastic screams of alumni could be heard across the Sheraton lobby as old classmates greeted each other. By the class composite displays, friends hugged and laughed over photos from their college days. Alumni agree that the way the event brings people together is one of the reasons it’s so special and has had such a long tenure. Current students also took part in the conference, as they do each year. In the exhibit hall, fourth-year dental students presented their research during table clinics. Mosier remembers that time in his life fondly. He earned first place when he was in school, and later went on to judge the competition. On Friday, the exhibit hall opened to attendees, and more than 90 companies displayed cutting-edge oral health technology and services. It’s a particular highlight for Stuart Samples. “I always end up getting some new equipment,” he said. “It’s great because we’ve gotten to know a lot of the reps, and it’s fun to see them as well.” The opportunities to connect are plentiful, with the UMKC Dental Hygienists’ Alumni Association Celebration Luncheon, Recent Grad Party, Orthodontic Meeting and more. This year, the Samples were particularly excited for the Pierre Fauchard Academy Regional Meeting. Kyle was inducted into the academy, while Stuart and their practice partner, David Mattingly, watched on. While the reunions may have drawn participants to MDC, continuing education was also a big part of the weekend for the Samples. Sessions ranged from the effects of vaping to homeopathic trends and included hands-on workshops for endodontics and composite dentistry. James Samples has long been a champion of the educational aspect of the conference. Both Kyle and Stuart call their dad the “furious note taker” of the family. They’ve even adopted their own family strategy for tackling the day. “We’ve learned over the years that if we split up, we can each learn something and share it,” Stuart explained. “Dad always says, ‘You’ll always get that one pearl of wisdom you can take back home with you.’” After all educational sessions and alumni celebrations were said and done, attendees traveled back home Sunday afternoon with yet another weekend’s worth of memories and a new breadth of knowledge to put into practice. “Anytime a meeting can go on for 100 years, somebody's doing something right,” Mosier said. “I’m proud of my school. I’m proud of my family.” Aug 25, 2023

  • One Degree, Countless Opportunities

    Alumni use their education to open doors beyond the dental clinic
    When graduates leave the UMKC School of Dentistry, they’re ready for the rigors that come with working inside a dental clinic. But they’re also prepared for a multitude of other opportunities where they can put their degrees to work. Alumni Nathan Suter, William V. Giannobile and Laila Hishaw may have taken their knowledge in different directions, but they all share the common goal of making a lasting impact on the field of dentistry. Suter (D.D.S. ’13) wears many hats in his dental career. As owner and clinician at Green Leaf Dental Care in House Springs, Missouri, Suter treats patients one day a week. The rest of the week is filled with his responsibilities as a small business owner, software developer, corporate executive, public health administrator and board member. “What made me a little different than a traditional dental student was that I had a business degree coming into dental school, and that allowed me to see things differently,” Suter said. “I just like to solve problems. That's probably the biggest thing.” Suter began his dental career in a community health center, which ignited a passion for population health and strategizing to solve big problems that affect a lot of people. Outside of Green Leaf, he’s also the chief innovation officer for Enable Dental, where he oversees technology and quality assurance for the company, which provides portable dentistry for geriatric and special needs patients across the country. Suter believes his rotations as a UMKC dental student opened his eyes to the full range of possibilities that come with a D.D.S. degree. “I didn’t really know there was more to dentistry than private practice until I went on my rotations, and I started really liking public health,” Suter said. “That let me zoom out from looking at dentistry as the tooth and the person attached to it, (and start looking) at an entire population.” For Suter’s third-year research project in dental school, he worked with Delta Dental, evaluating onsite dental care for companies in terms of portable dentistry and teledentistry. Through that work, he began to see patterns of disparity in dental check-ups related to levels of education. Michael McCunniff (D.D.S.’83), who was UMKC School of Dentistry’s department chair in Public Health and Behavioral Sciences at the time, helped Suter realize the broader public health ramifications of his research. By making dentistry more accessible through portability and teledentistry, dentists can break down some of the societal barriers to oral health care. That research became the catalyst for Suter’s consulting work, as many dentists began reaching out to him about the different ways to utilize portable equipment and teledentistry. He also worked with Delta Dental (he is a current board member) to develop software for clinic care coordination specific to dentistry. Enable Dental would go on to acquire that software and bring him on in his current executive role. Suter’s advice for his fellow alumni is to expand their network beyond the dental clinic. “Have the courage to put yourself in a room where you’re the only dentist,” Suter said. “Offer yourself up, create a space to listen and see what opportunities come.” Ivy League Alumnus As dean of the Harvard School of Dental Medicine, William V. Giannobile (D.D.S. ’91), doesn’t get to practice dentistry much anymore, but keeping up on those skills is still a priority. “I consider myself a clinician scientist, really trying to bring together translating discovery or basic science into the clinic,” Giannobile said. “And it’s always been important, as a clinician scientist, to continue seeing patients.” Since his time at UMKC, Giannobile has become a leader in periodontology, with research interests in regenerative medicine, tissue engineering and precision medicine. The seeds for his prestigious research career were planted during his time at the School of Dentistry, particularly by three of the school’s former faculty: Charles Cobb, J. David Eick and George Revere. During Giannobile’s second year in dental school, they urged him to take a research opportunity with the National Institutes of Health. They explained the research would not only help him with his current degree, but could also make him a pioneer in the field of dentistry. “I was basically the first dental student (at UMKC) to engage in a combined D.D.S. program with a Master of Science in Oral Biology,” said Giannobile. “So, my time at UMKC was certainly a transformative experience that prepared me very well for my time at Harvard University.” After graduation from UMKC, Giannobile earned a Ph.D. in molecular biology and a certificate in periodontology, both from Harvard, where he was also a faculty member for two years. He left Harvard for the University of Michigan, where he worked from 1998 to 2020. All the while, he continued to advance his research interests. Now that he’s back at Harvard, Giannobile is excited for his future research into patient stratification for losing teeth and using artificial intelligence to identify patients at risk of developing pain after certain dental procedures. Giannobile is grateful for every opportunity that helped create his path forward. “When I look back, I feel blessed at how many doors have opened in my career and enabled me to do so many different things,” said Giannobile, who is from St. James, Missouri. “Growing up on the farmlands of Missouri, I never thought I would be able to travel internationally to collaborate on my work.” Mentoring clinicians of color A mindless scroll of her Facebook feed is what inspired Laila Hishaw (D.D.S. ’00) to start a national dentistry nonprofit, an effort she claims has rejuvenated her as a clinician. In 2018, after 18 years in dentistry, burn out began to settle in. One night, while she was scrolling through Facebook posts, she saw a statistic on the racial disparities in oral health. As a Black woman, she felt compelled to do something. She started with her own social media post, just asking if anyone she knew had a child who needed mentorship in dentistry. That one post kicked off a broader conversation among her dental friend group. Hishaw found that many other dentists were interested in mentoring, and there were quite a few parents seeking mentors for their kids. So she created a Facebook group that became a space for parents and students to connect and ask questions with real dentists on topics such as interviewing at a particular school or navigating the application process. “Once people started getting connected, they started asking about donating and whether it was a nonprofit,” Hishaw said. “Then I realized, I need to make this organized.” She called it Diversity in Dentistry Mentorships, got the organization incorporated and formed a board of directors. The nonprofit took off from there, and now has 3,370 members and more than 100 mentees. In 2021, the group held its first in-person event for middle and high schoolers, where the students received hands-on experience in dentistry. They invited 30 students to attend the first year and 50 the following year. Although the organization is focused in Arizona for now, Hishaw’s vision is to one day have these pockets of mentorship across the country. “Mentorship really did reignite my love and passion for dentistry,” Hishaw said. “When you’re talking to mentees, it reminds you of why you (chose dentistry) in the first place.” Hishaw is proud of the programs and the mentors that helped her get where she is today. Before she was a student at the School of Dentistry, she took part in the Summer Scholars program at the school, now called the STAHR program, which stands for Students Training in Academia, Health and Research. She used her experience with STAHR to help guide her while she was organizing her non-profit’s Youth Summit. “In STAHR, we had experience with impressions, learning vocabulary and instrumentation,” Hishaw said. “We’re mirroring that, giving our students the same hands-on learning and giving them the realization that they too could be a dentist.” Many of Hishaw’s former UMKC classmates are now a part of Diversity in Dentistry Mentorships, and some of her own mentors are still at UMKC, including John Cottrell, the school’s director of minority and special programs. While she was a student at UMKC, Hishaw said she was in Cottrell’s office probably every other week. He’s been a sounding board for many of the ideas she has surrounding her nonprofit. While Hishaw is still a practicing pediatric dentist with multiple locations around Tucson, she acknowledges it’s her passion outside the dental office that’s kept her going. “This helped me find true joy beyond the four walls of my practice,” Hishaw said. “Our identities as dentists are tied so tightly to being a practice owner, it’s so important for us, as dentists, to have hobbies and outside interests.” Aug 25, 2023

  • A Year of Discovery

    UMKC medical students continue school’s tradition of earning prestigious NIH research fellowships
    As the pace of medical research continues to escalate, the UMKC School of Medicine has kept up, placing students nearly every year in the past decade in distinguished National Institutes of Health (NIH) programs. Again this year, two UMKC School of Medicine students have been accepted to the yearlong NIH Medical Research Scholars Program. The highly respected program is also quite competitive, as only 40 to 50 students are chosen from accredited institutions across the U.S. and Canada for this rare opportunity to train at the largest biomedical research facility in the world. “These programs help shape the futures of our medical students and make them highly competitive for the best residencies in the nation,” said Michael Wacker, Ph.D., associate dean of academic affairs. “Students returning from these programs are also more highly trained in research, which is valuable for faculty working with them on projects.” This year’s fellows from UMKC will begin their NIH program this summer. Both share a passion for healing and helping others. Manasa Gadiraju plans to be a cardiothoracic surgeon and pursue research aligned with her specialty. “I like that medicine combines science with interpersonal relationships to improve people’s lives,” said Gadiraju, who will graduate in 2025. “As a doctor, I want to be a leader in my field, work with a team and provide a constant source of support for my patients.” The NIH program can open doors of opportunity that speak to Gadiraju’s and other fellows’ dreams and aspirations. “I’d love to do something involving translational therapies for congenital heart conditions and work with stem cells,” Gadiraju said. “The (program) is a perfect complement to my overall career goals. At the NIH, our mentors are physician-scientists, so we learn from the best. This fellowship will be a crucial step in preparing me for my career.” UMKC’s other Medical Research Scholars Program fellow, Jacob Tribble, also will graduate in 2025. “My interest in medicine stemmed from biomedical classes in high school,” said Tribble. “I loved math and science and knew human connections would be an important part of my future career. The ability to help people is an amazing privilege and responsibility.” With plans to eventually work as a physician-scientist at an academic institution, Tribble looks forward to the spectrum of possibilities offered by the NIH. He’ll spend much of his time this summer in their Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, where he’ll be researching cancer in immunocompromised people and those living with HIV. “Research and teaching are both aspects of medicine I love and want in my future,” Tribble said. “One aspect of the program that attracted me was that they offer free classes through the FAES (Foundation for Advanced Education in Sciences) graduate school. These courses range from covering applications of artificial intelligence to advanced cancer biology and the neuroscience of addiction.” Student Research Programs In 2014, the UMKC School of Medicine launched an initiative to introduce an array of research opportunities to its students. This initiative began as a conversation between then-dean, Steven Kanter, M.D., and Wacker. “Our students have always looked for unique and challenging opportunities to learn and train,” Wacker said. “We formed a research group, created a webpage and mentored students who participated in these year-long and summer research programs.” In that inaugural year, only a few students applied. Since then, the number of accepted applicants has increased exponentially. During the past nine years, more than 100 UMKC medical school students have participated in nearly three dozen research programs with universities and medical organizations around the world. Nearly 40 of these have been NIH programs, including its Clinical Research Training Program, the Summer Internship Program in Biomedical Research and the Medical Research Scholars Program. “Initially, students were hesitant to take a year off and extend their graduation,” Wacker said. “But as I talk with students and participants who’ve come back and shared their experiences, they realize what a difference this opportunity can make in their careers. “Every year, I offer a seminar detailing these programs, and we help students through the application process. As our participation increases, there’s more awareness about the value of these programs, and the enthusiasm grows.” Gadiraju’s enthusiasm reflects that of her fellow NIH program participants. “I’m so excited to spend a year improving my research skills at the NIH,” she said. “I applied to this program because I want to learn to think more scientifically, create and implement study designs and gain hands-on experience working with some of the best scientists in the world.” Tribble shares Gadiraju’s excitement. “I applied to this program because research is a career goal, and the NIH is one of the most robust research institutions in the world,” he said. “The resources and training they provide are unmatched, and living on the NIH campus with students from medical schools across the country will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.” The NIH Journey: Learn, Discover and Contribute With an emphasis on biomedical research, NIH programs parallel the School of Medicine’s mission to improve the health and well-being of people through innovative medicine and cutting-edge biomedical science and research. “The NIH sponsors these programs, in part, to increase the number of physician-scientists conducting research as part of their practice,” Wacker said. “Research training not only helps students become part of the process to create new knowledge but also helps them approach clinical problems with a different mindset and to practice evidence-based medicine.” During the Medical Research Scholars Program, scholars contribute to groundbreaking solutions through a process known as bench-to-bedside treatment. This approach, in which laboratories are located near patient units, puts research scientists and students near those receiving care. Through collaboration, these teams translate scientific observations and laboratory discoveries into pioneering diagnoses and treatments. Medical Research Scholars Program fellows receive a stipend, plus expenses, to conduct this research at the NIH main campus in Bethesda, Maryland. This transformational year also helps guide the direction of these future leaders in biomedical research. At the NIH, biomedical research includes behavioral and social sciences biology, chemistry and physics, mathematical modeling, biostatistics and other focus areas. The program includes seminars by world-renowned researchers who teach not only the science of medicine, but the art of clinical care. Students acquire cutting-edge analytical skills and knowledge while learning from expert, supportive mentors how to lead their own investigations. Workshop topics include work-life balance, written and verbal communication and the critical evaluation of medical literature. Achieving Goals and Making a Difference For many participants, the Medical Research Scholar Program also presents an opportunity to define their vision for future service to community and those in need. Yen Luu (M.D. ’23), who graduated in the spring with a specialty in dermatology, completed an NIH Medical Research Scholars Program in 2022. Experiences early in her life influenced her decision to pursue a medical career.  “When I was growing up, I volunteered with children whose family members had cancer,” she said. “I saw how physicians supported families through their most vulnerable times and created long-lasting, meaningful impacts.” Luu’s research is focused on skin cancer risk factors among underrepresented communities, in particular those who identify as LGBTQ+. At the NIH, her project examined skin cancers in people living with HIV. “I applied to the (program) to immerse myself in collaborative research,” said Luu, who will begin her residency at Stanford University in the fall. “The NIH was the perfect place to develop essential research skills of coding, writing and collaboration. My mentor, Dr. Michael Sargen, also sparked my love for dermato-epidemiology and reaffirmed my passion for conducting research that includes underserved communities.”  Benefits of Research Programs During the NIH programs, research mentors guide scholars, support their work and inspire innovative discoveries. Participants also meet colleagues who become lifetime mentors and friends. “My biggest goal during the program was to engage in a close mentorship experience, and this goal was far exceeded at the NIH,” Luu said. “I’m incredibly thankful to Dr. Sargen. He not only nurtured my career goals, but also introduced me to fantastic physician-scientists who are now also close mentors.” Tribble looks forward to similar opportunities for collaboration and connection at the NIH. “Team science is a concept that’s exemplified at the NIH, and this attitude of collaboration is something I hope to bring to my future practice,” he said. “I believe we’re at our best when we work with one another and take everyone’s thoughts into account. The NIH has created a healthy environment where this is encouraged, and the researchers and mentors I’ve interacted with there are amazing people.” Wacker believes student research programs deliver positive, far-reaching outcomes for participants, the School of Medicine, the university—and the people UMKC students and graduates care for and serve. “Ultimately, these students will go on to make significant contributions to the way health care is practiced, and this benefits our entire community.” Aug 25, 2023

  • The Future is Now

    Simulation training is a growing and expected part of medical education and UMKC has plans to expand their program
    Emily Hillman was a fifth-year medical student, still deciding which direction her career as a physician would take, when she walked into the School of Medicine’s simulation lab for the first time. Long recognized for delivering a cutting-edge curriculum, the UMKC School of Medicine opened its Clinical Training Facility and the Youngblood Medical Skills Laboratory in the basement in 2007 with a small assortment of full-body manikin simulators and specialized models called “task trainers,” designed to teach and practice skills.Hillman (M.D. ’08), returned to the lab repeatedly throughout her final years of medical school, and throughout her emergency medicine residency, to learn procedures in a way that wasn’t possible before the evolution of simulators. “I found it so helpful and impactful learning to do things on a simulator rather than reading a textbook or listening to a lecture because it brought out my knowledge gaps,” said Hillman, an emergency medicine physician who now serves as director of simulation education at the School of Medicine. “I realized I thought I knew something, but actually doing it was different.”Today, the school is looking forward to a new $120 million Healthcare Delivery and Innovation Building planned for the UMKC Health Sciences Campus. The building will provide additional classroom space and state-of-the-art educational facilities, including more simulation labs, which school leaders say will lead to better training for students and better care for the community.Before simulation training, medical students learned by reading textbooks, examining and working with static plastic models and watching others perform procedures before they practiced on real patients. At the School of Medicine, students often prepared for exams by flooding the school’s second-floor media center, a large room filled with skeletons, an assortment of plastic model body parts and rows of monitors on which they could view videos describing everything from human anatomy to specific medical procedures. Hillman said today’s students come in with the expectation simulation training will be an essential part of their education. “That was not the case in the past because it was new and novel. It was an emerging thing,” Hillman said. “The available technologies today have changed and improved their realism.”Manikins and task trainers used today mimic the human anatomy and physiology and perform with such realism that not only can they talk and move, but they can go so far as to bleed, vomit and even give birth. With life-like skin, they allow learners to practice skills in real time, such as inserting breathing tubes and using catheters to actually remove fluids.Ashraf Gohar, M.D., an associate professor of medicine, is assistant program director of the pulmonary/critical care fellowship. He has utilized the clinical training facility for the past 10 years, teaching medical students and residents.“Every program today, if they don’t have a skills lab, they’re developing one,” he said. “And if they do have one, they’re expanding it.”Such is the case with the School of Medicine’s Clinical Training Facility. Today, the facility has moved out of the basement. Taking up a suite in a building across the street from the medical school, the facility has two classrooms, four examination rooms with exam tables and diagnostic tools and three patient care bays that can be set up as emergency department or intensive care bays.Last year, the school’s second-floor media center was remodeled to house a new Experiential Learning Center, a 30-seat hybrid simulation/classroom space that serves as an extension of the simulation lab across the street. And the growth doesn’t end there. In addition to the current simulation facilities, the Healthcare Delivery and Innovation Building is expected to provide training space that will nearly triple the Clinical Training Facility’s footprint on the Health Sciences Campus. “For the volume of simulations we do, the size of the team and the space we operate in is small,” Hillman said. “The plus side of that is that we’ve had to do a great job of being creative with our resources and with solutions to those challenges. We do need the physical space that allows us to optimize the way these simulation events are meant to run.”Current scheduling for faculty who want to use the Clinical Training Facility is a minimum of two weeks out, said Garren Fraser, assistant director of administration for the center.With the increased use of the training center, Fraser and his staff now require instructors to submit a complete learning plan outlining goals and objectives for the students.“Our goal is that you give us your teaching plan and we’ll give you the tools to teach it,” Fraser said. “We want to get as close to clinical (reality) as possible.”An entire simulation suite in the new building will help meet that goal. A dedicated room for procedure training will also have equipment that allows for distance learning, so an instructor can connect from another campus to conduct training of procedures. A full-scale operating room will allow for different virtual simulations. A high-fidelity simulation room will be designed to meet today’s best practice standards. There will be additional office and storage space as well.The biggest positive to come out of the new space may be the addition of 14 new exam rooms, more than triple the number of rooms currently available for the school’s standardized patient program.Standardized patients are actors hired by the school to portray patients in a clinical exam setting or family members during virtual training sessions. They allow students to practice basic examination and communication skills. Standardized patients are also trained to help assess, and in some instances, correct simple mistakes students make while they are learning to conduct basic examinations, something Hillman said sets the UMKC standardized patient program apart from others.As part of their training, a new class of medical students is required each year to examine four standardized patients for 30 minutes each. That requirement, which is part of the students’ mid-term exams, takes a full week to complete for an entire class of up to 130 students with the spaces currently available. In the new Experiential Learning Center, the standardized patient program also provides students with after-hours opportunities to meet with standardized patients and spend more time practicing their basic physical exam skills. “We need a space that delivers the best environment for our student learners and our standardized patients,” Hillman said. “Instead of a student reading a textbook after hours to prepare for an exam, they’re meeting with a standardized patient. It’s all about having a flexible learning model for students who learn in different ways. We look at how we can adapt simulation for that.”The key to simulation training, she said, is to remember that the patient isn’t the focus.“In simulation, the learner is the focus,” she said. “They’re free to air their mistakes or things they don’t understand because they’re not endangering a real patient.”There are, however, times when a simulation event can become a very lifelike and stressful experience.Ameen Awad, a sixth-year medical student, has been through several simulation events and experienced both the comfort of learning in a safe environment and the pressure of a high-stress situation.“You can be working on the manikin, looking at the heart monitor and all of a sudden, it flat lines and you have to do something immediately,” Awad said. “You have to figure out, ‘What are we going to do? What are we going to inject them with? Are we going to start compressions?’ That is stressful, but it’s also good practice because in the real world, seconds are precious.” Gohar brings a new group of medical students and residents to the Clinical Training Facility about every six weeks.On a recent spring day, a class of nearly 20 medical students gathered for comprehensive skills training in thoracentesis and paracentesis, procedures in which a long catheter is inserted through the patient’s back or chest to obtain a body fluid sample. Having already watched a recorded video of the procedures, the students line up to perform the procedures on one of two task trainers.“They come here to practice the hands-on part before they start working on the real person,” Gohar said. “This is important because they make mistakes, they learn from their mistakes. After a certain number of procedures, everyone will get more comfortable.”As the school’s simulation program continues to grow, Hillman said, the goal is for the Clinical Training Facility to become an accredited simulation center through the Society for Simulation in Healthcare within the next five years. Accreditation proves a simulation center has established the processes, procedures and oversight that are best practice, Hillman said.“We believe that process is going to ensure we’re following best practices,” she said. “We’ve been doing things program-wise to set the stage for that in a way that may not be apparent to the learners but is very apparent to people who ask to use our center now.” Today’s simulation training is a high yield learning experience, Hillman said. For that reason, it’s now embedded in the school’s curriculum, which includes the school’s Physician Assistant and Anesthesiologist Assistant programs as well.“It's an expectation now as a medical school that we provide simulated experiences,” Hillman said. “Students can encounter different problems (in simulations) that they wouldn’t in the clinic. You can’t guarantee every student is going to see every patient problem. But you can with simulation.” Aug 24, 2023

  • UMKC Psychology Internships Provide Insight, Experience

    From summer camps to assisted living facilities, department helps students find the right fit
    The UMKC psychology program is committed to identifying internships for its undergraduate students. The results of the students’ experiences are stronger skills, clearer understanding of the profession and possible job offers. Angel Williams is a senior who decided to be a counselor based on the prevalence of mental health issues. “I just decided that if people need help, I should be a person that they can look to. That way they can lean on me with the problems that they may have." At Jumpstart, an outcome-based program that promotes children’s school success and builds family engagement, Williams worked two days a week developing lesson plans, conducting reading activities and providing lessons to expand vocabulary. The internship gave Williams perspective on how broad the field of psychology is, as well as the diversity of the audience. “I want to work with young adults, but my internship gave me the experience of putting myself in someone else’s shoes. It helped me realize where other people are coming from even better.” Growing up, school was a place that Yami Blas, a senior in psychology, felt secure and supported. “My teachers and counselor instilled a deep appreciation for the work that they do. Their influence encouraged me to pursue a career in an educational setting. My internship at Campfire made my interest in school counseling become clearer.” During her internship, she went to two schools and worked with diverse groups of students. “We taught them conflict resolution and emotional regulation skills,” Blas says. “I created lesson plans that would outline ways to resolve conflicts that students may have faced, but we made these activities so students would have fun while learning.” Blas plans to earn her master's degree in counseling with an emphasis on school counseling. “At Campfire I interacted with school counselors, which provided invaluable insights into their roles and responsibilities. Their insights instilled a sense of confidence in my career choice.” After graduation, Blas plans to be a school counselor within her community. “I am well aware of the pressing need for increased representation of Latine professionals in mental health and education. I want to make a meaningful impact and contribute to fostering inclusive and equitable support systems for all students!” Sarah Welte, (B.A., 23) psychology major with a minor in race, ethnic and gender studies, is an academy director at Rockhill Manor thanks to her internship through UMKC. Welte was hesitant about her internship with Rockhill Manor, an assisted living campus for adults with a chronic mental illness, because she was concerned that it may be too focused on the nursing side of health care, rather than the mental health side, which interested her more. “Dr. (Kym) Bennett encouraged me to try it because she thought I might like it. I’m very thankful for her patience and for motivating me to give it a shot!” Rockhill Academy is a non-profit organization run by Rockhill Manor that offers classes focusing on life skills, educational opportunities and community engagement for their residents. “I help design and facilitate these classes, including Mental Health Awareness, and organizing trips to Starlight Theater,” Welte says. “In addition, I am in charge of facilitating the internship program we have with UMKC.” “The best case scenario is that students get into the internship, and they love the time working one-on-one with people. If they don’t, we can course correct.” - Kym Bennett Welte says working at Rockhill has been the perfect job for her after graduation. “It allowed me to shift into the psychology field in a place where I was already comfortable because I had had months of exposure to the place and the residents before I began working here. Now I get to continue to work with residents that I had already formed relationships with, providing them a continuance of classes and opportunities that will hopefully enhance their lives. Kym Bennett, Ph.D., director, Undergraduate Psychology Program and Mentoring Office helped each student secure an internship. She and Ricardo Marte, Ph.D., associate clinical professor, maintain a list of sites that provide opportunities for meaningful experiences, but they can identify other sites if a student has a specific interest. It’s important to them that the internship is a good fit. “The best case scenario is that students get into the internship, and they love the time working one-on-one with people,” Bennett says. “If they don’t, we can course correct.” She says seeing a student take a job at an internship placement is energizing. “It’s one of the best parts of the job to see our students complete their degree and begin down the path of helping others. There’s no better feeling.”   Aug 18, 2023

  • For Med Student, There’s No Place Like Nome

    Caleb Feuerbacher completed monthlong psychiatric rotation in remote Alaska
    Roos don't just dream, they do. Our students turn ideas into action every day. Get to know our people, and you'll know what UMKC is all about. Caleb FeuerbacherAnticipated graduation year: 2025UMKC degree program: BA/MD, School of MedicineHometown: Maryville, Missouri It took persistence, and Google Maps, for med student Caleb Feuerbacher to find the ideal place for a monthlong psychiatry rotation. Norton Sound Health Corporation in Nome, Alaska, isn’t easy to spot from the lower 48. But it was a magnet for Feuerbacher, who has long dreamed of seeing the more remote regions of the world. With three psychiatric rotations in easier-to-reach locations already on his resume, he decided in early 2023 it was time to go long. “I just started clicking on hospitals that showed up on Google Maps in remote areas of Alaska,” he said. He found Norton Sound in Nome, went to the website and discovered that they already had a medical student rotation program established with Tulane University. The website included a name and phone number for a contact person for the program. He picked up the phone and called.  “The man said, ‘We’re having a Zoom meeting tomorrow with applicants from Tulane. Want to join?’ And I did.” On June 23, he stepped off the plane and into another world. For the first two weeks, the sun never set. “The culture is rooted in subsistence hunting,” he said. “The people are all super nice and friendly. They were always inviting me into their homes.” He spent a lot of his free time exploring and sightseeing in the tundra and mountains. He also encountered professional challenges. “According to the CDC, the suicide rate in Alaska is about 1.5 times that of Missouri,” Feuerbacher said. “I don’t think the issue is as simple as remoteness or weather. There’s been a lot of challenges for Native Americans and Alaska Natives with European colonists from the very beginning. Many challenges continue to exist today.” His thinking is influenced by more than just a month in Alaska. He spent an earlier rotation in a place much closer to Kansas City, but almost as remote: White Cloud, Kansas, population 115, in the reservation of the Iowa Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska, where he dealt with similar issues. “I think it is really important for medical students, or really anyone, to learn more about native Americans and Alaska natives, to see things from their perspective.” “I really like the extremities of the world. I like to explore things that few people in the world have seen, see how other people live. I want to experience other cultures, other lifestyles.” —  Caleb Feuerbacher What’s next for Feuerbacher? He will spend the 2023-2024 academic year at Harvard pursuing a master’s degree in public health, then return to UMKC for the final year of medical school. Then a residency, and eventually a psychiatric practice. Just where that will be remains to be seen. Utqiagvik, Alaska (formerly Barrow), one of the northernmost towns on the planet, is on his bucket list. He’s also eager to visit U.S. territories in the Pacific, such as Guam and the Northern Marianas. “I really like the extremities of the world,” Feuerbacher said. “I like to explore things that few people in the world have seen, see how other people live. I want to experience other cultures, other lifestyles.” “I think it’s really important to see how medicine is practiced in different areas of the United States,” he added. “I believe it helps you understand on a deeper level the issues you’ll be dealing with in your practice.” Why did you choose UMKC? I visited it as a high school student. It had a great campus and was close to home, along with the program I wanted and great support. Why did you choose your field of study? The six-year BA/MD program was perfect for me as it was in-state and gave me admission into a great medical school. What are the benefits of the program? Getting your M.D. and undergrad degree in only six years, with lower cost than most other medical schools for in-state students. The students here are awesome, and I’ve met a lot of friends on campus. I also like the flexibility on choosing away rotations. Who do you admire most at UMKC? Dr. Wacker (Michael Wacker, Ph.D., associate professor and associate dean - Academic Affairs, vice-chair, Biomedical Science) has been an amazing role model and person to seek guidance from, especially for rural/away rotations. Do you have any scholarships? I am on an athletic scholarship for NCAA Division I cross country. I ran competitively here at UMKC for three years with my last season being this past fall, and was UMKC’s third-fastest cross country runner this year at conference. What’s your favorite social media channel? Geowizard on Youtube. He’s a funny personality and has lots of cool videos about challenges where he walks across countries in straight lines and loves geography, which I love as well. What’s your favorite spot on campus? Bloch Executive Hall; there are lots of little places to explore in that building. Aug 17, 2023

  • Have You Ever Seen a Beating Heart in Real-Time?

    Virtual anatomy table takes the gross out of anatomy
    The Anatomage Table, a 3D anatomy visualization and virtual dissection tool, is about the size and height of a traditional hospital bed. The top of the table features two integrated touch-screen glass monitors connected to a powerful computer housed in the base of the machine. At first glance, the screens look like any other computer interface, except the screen spans 7 feet. The school acquired the table in the fall of 2019 through a state technology grant. Trainings were delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the school was able to start using the table in the Fall of 2021. Shelley Hunter, Ph.D., a clinical assistant professor who teaches anatomy and physiology, is the resident expert on the inner workings of the impressive piece of technology. She said that even though Anatomage provided extensive training for faculty and staff, the technology was still daunting at first. “At first I was really intimidated because the table is enormous, and it can do so many things,” Hunter said. “The students, though, are immediately comfortable with it. They just walk right up, and it doesn’t bother them since they were born into this age of technology.” According to Hunter, the table presents a more “cleaned-up version” of the human body than students would experience in a traditional cadaver lab. With the Anatomage Table, if a student wants to see behind the kidneys, they just digitally move the organs out of the way. With a cadaver, those same kidneys would need to be removed by hand with considerable effort. For Hunter, the capabilities of the virtual anatomy table far outweigh the lack of tactile sensation that traditional dissection involves. “For the cardiovascular unit we were studying, we pulled up the heart and it pulled up an EKG,” Hunter said. “Right beside it, and we could see the muscles, we could see the nervous system and the valves working while the ECG was going on and the students can relate the electrical with the mechanical.” School of Nursing and Health Studies Dean Joy Roberts believes that UMKC is the only university in the Kansas City area offering this technology to its students. Roberts also knows first-hand that other area schools are interested in the table. “I was on the board for North Kansas City School District. They called and said, ‘We hear you have this new machine and it’s really cool,’” Roberts said. “Leadership came to UMKC to check it out. They were so impressed they got one for the district, and plan to have them at all four of the North Kansas City high schools.” Although the table itself is expensive, it’s still much cheaper than a cadaver lab. “To operate a cadaver lab, you have to get people to donate their bodies,” Roberts said. “Then you have to store the cadavers, preserve them in formaldehyde and keep them secure. This table gives us access to cadavers without the terrible smell of formaldehyde burning our eyes.” The school received the funding for the $80,000 table from a grant through the Nursing Education Incentive Program with the Missouri State Board of Nursing. According to Roberts, having access to cadavers, even if virtually, makes a world of difference for the students, providing them with more than a the traditional plastic model or picture in a book. For Roberts, those tried-and-true learning tools will always be useful, but the Anatomage Table provides a more complete picture. Take, for example, the voice box. Hunter can zero in on that organ and remove related systems, such as circulatory or nervous systems, providing an unencumbered view of what students are focusing on for that particular lesson. The machine shines when Hunter takes a clear view of the voice box and rotates the entire organ. The ability to do this is critical, because the muscles associated with the voice box are hidden behind the organ itself. Hunter can then show students the muscles that support the throat, the bone and cartilage, the Adam’s apple and the epiglottis, the flap that covers the windpipe. That full understanding is important for future nurses and their patients. “Because most nurses will have to intubate a patient, we look at those muscles that control the opening and closing of that flap,” Hunter said. “We talk about what happens if any of these things are compromised. If the nerves or muscles aren’t functioning properly, the patient can die because there’s no way for air to get through.” Hunter’s anatomy and physiology classes are comprised of pre-nursing students and health studies students. Classes consist of 20-35 students each, and Hunter has groups of five working at the table at one time. On any given review day, students can be found studying a unit, such as the cardiovascular system, watching the entire system work in real-time. Other groups quiz each other on terminology as they wait their turn at the table, where they’ll see a fuller picture of how circulation works. Ashley Hanners is pursuing her bachelor’s degree in health studies, and she spent the past two semesters in Hunter’s class working with the Anatomage Table. Hanners came into the class from high school with some experience in dissection, which she said was helpful in working with table. There was one crucial difference between the virtual anatomy table and the mouse she dissected, however: the odor. “The smell of chemicals and decomposition were potent,” Hanners said. “It made a lot of my high school classmates nauseous.” Instead, Hanners appreciates that the table removed that distraction and enabled her to focus on diving deep into anatomy. She said that each person within her small group got better at identifying organs and systems, as well as dissecting and reconstructing those systems. During a class in which Hunter reviewed the reproductive system, she showed students how uncomfortable pregnancy can be for expectant mothers. The students saw first-hand the pressure the baby puts on the surrounding organs, an exercise that elicited a variety of reactions from the students, including, “This is so cool,” “That is kind of scary,” and “You can see the baby’s heart beating!” Aug 16, 2023

  • Five Questions with New UMKC School of Law Dean

    Meet Lumen Mulligan
    Lumen (Lou) Mulligan, J.D., M.A., joined the School of Law as dean in July. He was previously the Interim Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs at the University of Kansas, as well as the Earl B. Shurtz Research Professor of Law. A Kansas City native, Mulligan understands the importance of UMKC School of Law to the greater community. What attracted you to UMKC School of Law initially? The mission and the people. UMKC Law has a deep commitment to being a best-value law school. We offer outstanding student success at an affordable price. When you look at our most recent employment numbers (96.6% employed for the class of 2022), the career arcs of our graduates and our low tuition, you can see the school’s commitment to being a premier law school. I was also inspired by the outstanding faculty, staff, students and alumni. They have all greeted me so warmly. It’s a privilege to be on a team with such a special group. What are you most looking forward to in your first year as dean? Meeting all our stakeholders and launching new initiatives. In my first month alone, I met with scores of alumni and friends, visited several law firms and worked closely with our entire team in the law school. I value creating these relationships and working with folks to further empower our community.  I am also excited for all the new programs we are launching in the next year. As of this December, all J.D. graduates will have access to a post-graduation bar prep course, which will be paid for from their tuition and fees. At most law schools, the entire cost of bar prep is borne by graduates in addition to their tuition. I am also looking forward to the opening of our new Center for Law, Entrepreneurship and Innovation this year, which is a groundbreaking interdisciplinary project. And by next summer, we’ll have started our new online Master of Legal Studies degree, which will provide legal education for those working in law-adjacent fields such as HR and compliance. You’ve previously worked in Kansas City as an attorney. Now that you’re back in Kansas City, what are you most excited about? I not only practiced here, “back in the day,” but I grew up in the KC metro. So it’s been a ton of fun already running into so many old friends, former students and new friends in the KC legal and civic community. It truly is a great place to practice law! Why did you originally pursue law school and being an attorney? Well, it was not a straight-line path for me. I went to college and studied civil engineering for a while. Then I earned a philosophy degree and went to graduate school.  I spent a while coaching swimming, working construction, waiting tables and hiking in Colorado. My eventual draw into law came later as I knew I wanted to be a profession where I could serve others, be challenged and work with great people. It’s been a wonderful career choice for me. What is something about you that may surprise people? I am an amateur guitarist, and with my daughters’ long-time engagement with dance, I can do a solid ballet bun and pull off a mildly acceptable fouetté turn myself. Aug 14, 2023

  • What’s New This Fall at UMKC?

    Plenty! The Divine Nine Garden and two new recreational fields are just the beginning
    We’re excited to welcome everyone back to campus! You might have noticed some new additions (like the Roo blue and gold chairs) on campus. We’ve made it easier for you with a guide to what’s new here at UMKC this fall. Divine Nine Garden This dedicated space on the UMKC Volker Campus honors and recognizes the nine Black Greek organizations that make up the National Pan-Hellenic Council, also known as the Divine Nine. It will also serve as a gathering place for students and alumni to meet, celebrate, host events and reflect on the importance and achievements of their respective organizations. The Divine Nine Garden unveiling will happen 10:30 a.m. Sept. 9 at the Quad. Murals in Welcome Center The Welcome Center at the Atterbury Student Success Center has a new look. New UMKC murals are designed by Ruthie Ozonoff, who shared the process of designing the murals on her Instagram. View this post on Instagram A post shared by Ruthie Ozonoff📍KCMO (@designedbyruthie) Recreational Fields UMKC Campus Recreation has introduced two recreational fields on Oak Street to the UMKC community. The North Field is equipped with two sets of soccer goals and bleachers while the South Field is a cricket field. “We hope students, faculty, and staff will enjoy these new offerings to campus, especially with cricket being a sport that is growing in popularity on campus,” said Liz Hoffman-Shrout, director of Campus Recreation. Students, faculty, and staff can also reserve the fields for various sports, recreation and leisure activities. Also, lots of fun events are happening this fall on the fields. Roo Wellness UMKC Health and Wellness is combining all services and rebranding itself as Roo Wellness, which will consist of health services, counseling services and student accessibility services. “With Roo Wellness, we’re taking a holistic approach by having one department to increase student success and life-long wellbeing,” said Obie Austin, administrator of Student Health and Wellness. Roo Wireless We've partnered with Public Wireless to introduce Roo Wireless, an opportunity for qualifying students to get a free tablet with internet hotspot. You may qualify for Roo Wireless if your household income is at or below 200% of the federal poverty guidelines, or if you meet at least one of these criteria: Recipient of a federal Pell Grant in 2023 Participant in a government assistance program such as SNAP, Medicaid, housing assistance or a free or reduced lunch program Meet the eligibility criteria for a participating provider’s low-income internet program Bioengineering Program The School of Science and Engineering has officially rolled out its Biomedical Engineering degree program. The high-demand major is based on a broad approach, combining electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, computer science, chemistry, biology, physics, medical training, pharmacology and pure biomedical engineering courses. In the future, the program will have space in the $120 million Healthcare Innovation and Discovery Building, located at the UMKC Health Sciences Campus. More Campus Parking There are 63 metered parking spots plus three ADA spots on the first floor of the Oak Place Parking Garage. A map of all other parking spots can be found here. Blue and Gold Chairs Looking for a spot to relax between classes? The new blue and gold chairs in the Quad are calling your name! New Starbucks  The Student Union officially has a Starbucks! The location offers an order-ahead option using the Starbucks app, and will accept Starbucks giftcards. The option to pay using a meal plan is coming soon. Aug 14, 2023

  • UMKC Biology Professor Receives $3.9 Million NIH Research Grant

    Research focuses on using massive electronic health records database to estimate the impacts of climate change on fungal disease spread in the U.S.
    Theodore White, Ph.D., division director and Marion Merrell Dow Endowed Professor in the UMKC School of Science and Engineering, was recently awarded a five-year $3.96 million National Institutes of Health grant to study fungal infections in the United States. Common fungal diseases in the United States include blood stream and lung diseases as well as athlete’s foot, vaginal yeast infections and oral thrush. These infections have been increasing in numbers and spreading globally for many years, with blood, brain and lung fungal infections having a 50% or more mortality rate. The lack of current data on the number of fungal infections in the United States, and the correlation to socioeconomic status, has precluded a deeper understanding of the role of climate change and extreme climate events on these fungal infections. White’s research aims to change that. “Over the last 10 years, we have been seeing increasing fungal infections, as well as significant climate changes,” White says. “Our grant will try to determine if there is a correlation between the two.” he said. White and his team will use a new database to better estimate the number and type of fungal infections across the United States on a yearly basis. The  database can track information from the last 15 years or more to examine the role of socioeconomic status of de-identified patients with these fungal infections, and determine if there is a correlation between those infections and climate change or extreme weather events. This project is a collaboration among the University of Missouri Kansas City, University of California, Berkeley and Children’s Mercy Kansas City. Aug 11, 2023

  • Sizemore Scholarship, Instrument Donation Keep Music Playing

    UMKC Conservatory students benefit from family’s generous gifts
    Katrinka Sizemore’s mother remembers that her daughter was so determined to play an instrument as a young child, that Katrinka convinced her aunt to give Katrinka her piano. “We never had to encourage her to play,” Kathy Riggs says of she and her husband, James Riggs. “Music was her.” In high school, Sizemore took oboe lessons, and her instructor told her she could compete at the state level.  ”She used her independent study time in school to practice oboe. It was music, music, music with this child and we just watched from the sidelines.” Sizemore attended UMKC and earned her B.A. in music in 2001; she graduated from the University of California – Los Angeles with a master’s in music in 2003. As an adult, Katrinka married Aaron Sizemore, a musician who began playing professionally when he was 15 years old. They started Music House, School of Music in Overland Park, Kansas, for children to learn to play instruments and perform in a collaborative setting. Aaron and Katrinka believed that music is made to be shared and developed a teaching method they felt was more collaborative and avoided an arrogance that was sometimes present in music education. “They sparked each other,” Riggs says. The concept and business was a success from the start. In two years, they had 300 students. Currently Music House has three locations. “Katrinka handled the business side, and she was inspired by the process,” Aaron says. “She was so smart and had so much grit and integrity.” Katrinka was diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer when she was 30 years old. “She approached it as a learning opportunity,” Sizemore says. “She continued to teach, and she wrote an oboe book. The doctors told her she had two years to live. She survived for seven.” Aaron donated her oboe to UMKC, and with her parents established the Katrinka Marie Sizemore Music Scholarship to support students with financial need who are studying oboe performance.  Katrinka’s lifelong friend, Megan Shumaker, makes regular contributions to the scholarship through the Shumaker Family Foundation. “I knew Katrinka my whole life,” Shumaker says. “We were in cribs together. I thought a scholarship was a good way to remember her. Katrinka would have wanted something to help students go into the arts. "Katrinka would appreciate Antwone having the oboe, and that the fund will affect a lot of people over time who may have missed the opportunity for education because they couldn’t afford it.” — Aaron Sizemore Antwone Moore, a junior who is pursuing his bachelor’s degree in music education, is one student who has benefitted from Katrinka’s legacy. As with Katrinka, he is passionate about the oboe. He says that with the help of his 6th grade teacher, Bronwyn Short, “The oboe chose me.” When he began to think about college, UMKC seemed to be the perfect fit. A Kansas City, Kansas native, he didn’t want to be too far from home, and he was comfortable at the university. “I was familiar with the music department from being in the UMKC Conservatory Bridges program. After doing my research, I felt this was the right choice. I wanted my freedom,” he says. “But I didn’t want to be too far from home. The culture here is so nurturing.” Celeste Johnson, associate professor of oboe, was an advocate for Moore’s receiving Katrinka’s oboe. “I was thrilled that Antwone received this oboe – it could not go to a more deserving student.  I am so happy that this generous donation makes it possible for a talented, hard-working student like Antwone to pursue his goals and dreams to become a music teacher. Moore did not know that Johnson was working on his behalf, or that the gift of an oboe was even a possibility. “I don’t talk about this often, but I come from a very low-income family and have never owned my own instrument. I almost broke down crying when I received the news that Professor Johnson had done this for me. I’m still careful when I play it. I want to do my best to do right by Katrinka and Aaron.” “I think she’d be happy about the scholarship and the oboe donation,” Sizemore says. “As part of dealing with her mortality she became mindful of what really matters. Katrinka would appreciate Antwone having the oboe, and that the fund will affect a lot of people over time who may have missed the opportunity for education because they couldn’t afford it.” Aug 08, 2023

  • Adjunct Faculty Share Time and Talents with Next Generation

    Practicing attorneys, most of whom are alumni, volunteer their time and expertise as adjunct faculty for the School of Law
    In 1895, the UMKC School of Law was founded by volunteer attorneys. Today, practicing attorneys, most of whom are alumni, volunteer their time and expertise as adjunct faculty to prepare the next generation of attorneys.  During Spring Semester 2022, more than 35 attorneys served as adjunct instructors for the School of Law, teaching courses that ranged from federal trial practice to estate planning to disabilities and the law. The generosity of adjunct faculty allows the School of Law to offer more courses for students than most larger law schools. This also means that the student-faculty ratios in these courses are often quite low — about 12:1 — so students have an opportunity to develop strong mentoring relationships with local practicing attorneys. Throughout the 2022 academic year, volunteer adjunct faculty generated 1,301 student credit hours. Adjuncts taught or co-taught with more than 900 total enrollments across the courses. Considering that no adjuncts teach in the first-year program, Dean Barbara Glesner Fines estimates the average upper-level student is taking at least two-and-a-half courses with adjunct professors. UMKC Law is recognized as a top school for practical skills training. Fines comments, "a big part of that is the expertise and experience our adjuncts bring to the classroom." Adjunct faculty can enrich all aspects of the school’s curriculum. Many enjoy teaching in the law school’s innovative “mini-term” courses. Offered in an intensive one-week format between regular semesters or over Spring Break, these one credit-hour courses may introduce students to a specific area of practice. Course examples include: State and Local Government Law in a Nutshell, taught by Steve Moore (J.D. ’77); or Introduction to Workers Compensation Law and Practice, developed by Joan Klosterman (J.D. ’88) and the Honorable Lisa Meiners (J.D. ’96). Other mini-term courses explore a very specific problem in law and give students hands-on training to address those issues in practice. For example, Paul Anderson (J.D. ’12) established a course focused on concussion litigation, just as society was first becoming aware of the problems caused by sports concussions. He currently teaches a course in Missouri marijuana regulation. Mira Mdivani (J.D. ’99) and Danielle Atchison (J.D. ’14, MBA ’19) train students to help businesses obtain visas for international personnel. In alternate semesters, they guide students through the skills necessary to represent immigrant victims of domestic violence. Kendall Seal (J.D. ’08) explores the problem of human trafficking with his students. “As far as I know there is only one other law school in the nation, the University of Cincinnati, whose alumni and community members all volunteer as adjuncts,” Glesner Fines said. “Given the competitive market for top talent, adjuncts may see their teaching as a recruitment opportunity for their law firms. Volunteer teaching fulfills most of an attorney’s requirement for annual continuing education, saving that expense.” “But these reasons are not what keep adjuncts coming back to the classroom year after year,” she continued. “Probably the most common reason adjuncts teach is because they simply enjoy interacting with students and view their teaching as a way to fulfill the duty all attorneys have to provide pro bono service to the profession. Others see teaching as the best way to stay current and hone their expertise in their field, making them better attorneys.” Some adjuncts teach their courses for decades. Adjunct Professor Jim Wyrsch (LL.M. ’73) first taught his Criminal Trial Techniques class in 1981. He was assisted in early years by the Hon. Charles Atwell (J.D. ’78) and soon after by his law partner J.R. Hobbs (J.D. ’81). Wyrsch and Hobbs still offer the course today. Some of the school’s most highly ranked programs were originally staffed by adjunct faculty under the supervision of a single full-time professor. The nationally ranked Trial Advocacy Program was limited to only 12 students each year until UMKC Law alumni, including Tim Dollar, approached Dean Jeffrey Berman to advocate for an expanded program. Today, a team of 13 adjunct faculty members teach the Trial Advocacy I course under the direction of Professor Michaelle Tobin. The Family Law Program, ranked in the top four nationally, benefits from dedicated alumni who teach the Family Law Practice course. Clinical Professor Mary Kay O’Malley supervises this course, taught by a team of nine adjuncts; the course was first developed by adjunct professor Betsy Ann Stewart (J.D. ’67).   Glesner Fines said some clinic-based programs require a significant time commitment from volunteer adjuncts. “Not only do the faculty have to train the students in the doctrine and skills," Fines says, "they then have to take on actual cases for clients and supervise students representing those clients.” One example is the Abandoned Housing Clinic, founded by Adjunct Professor David White (J.D. ’82). Students in the clinic represent the Kansas City Land Bank, clearing property titles so the city can move them to productive uses. Currently that clinic is directed and taught by Adjunct Professors Brandon Mason (J.D. ’16) and Angelo Banks (J.D. ’19). Glesner Fines is grateful for the contributions of her adjunct faculty. “I’m so proud of their willingness to step up and take on this big job.” Aug 04, 2023

  • Clean Slates

    UMKC Expungement Clinic helps Missourians find fresh starts
    When Johnny Waller, Jr., was 18 years old, he was tried, convicted and sent to prison in Nebraska. He served his time and returned to society, but quickly learned that although he was no longer behind bars, he also wasn’t truly free. Living with a criminal record was like carrying around a heavy weight all the time. “It’s not like you can successfully reintegrate back into society like people tell you,” Waller says. “You’re lucky if you can find a decent job or  a place to stay.” When you have to check the box on every job or housing application that says you have been convicted of a crime, doors close. That’s why Waller has dedicated his career to helping people open those doors once again. Waller, who holds a bachelor's and master's degree, serves as program manager at the School of Law's Clear My Record Expungement Clinic. The Clinic, founded in 2017 by retired law school dean, Ellen Suni, advocates for legislative changes to make expungement — the process of sealing past criminal records — more widely available in Missouri. The UMKC Expungement Clinic, which is affiliated with the project, represents low-income clients seeking expungement. If someone qualifies under Missouri law, a judge can grant an expungement of their convictions. With their record cleared, past convictions will not show up during background checks and they need not disclose their convictions on applications. “With the bang of a gavel, you can do all kinds of different things you couldn’t do before because you don’t have to check those boxes, ” Waller says. Waller himself was granted an expungement in 2018, 22 years after his initial conviction. The decision opened opportunities for him to pursue his education, start a business and work as an advocate to ease the collateral damage he says too often follows people after they leave prison. “Drug charges and theft offenses are the most common expungement cases at the UMKC Expungement Clinic,” says Sydney Ragsdale (J.D. ’18), a Truman Fellow who helps oversee the student lawyers who handle cases through the clinic. The mission behind the Expungement Clinic’s work has less to do with the details of clients’ past convictions and focuses more on the burdens imposed by those convictions, even years after fines are paid or a prison sentence is completed. “People are being wrongly held back from living their lives,” Ragsdale says. Since UMKC’s clinic began, its student lawyers have successfully assisted nearly a dozen clients. One such client is a man from New York who was caught with marijuana while passing through Missouri on a cross-country trip. That unfortunate pitstop led to a drug charge on his record and prevented him from getting a promotion he needed to support his family. Another client couldn’t rent an apartment or secure a mortgage to buy a house because of a DUI conviction. That mistake from his past kept him struggling to survive in low-income housing. A third client, a former childcare worker, had been charged with child endangerment after she momentarily left a student behind on a field trip. Although the child was unharmed, the mistake caused her to struggle both financially and emotionally for years afterward. “She was out in the world doing her best,” Ragsdale says. “She loved these kids, but made a mistake most parents have made at some point in their lives.” As with most clients the clinic represents, a mistake was still wreaking havoc on the woman’s life years later. Fortunately, like the man from New York with the drug charge and the man with the DUI conviction, she was granted an expungement and given the opportunity to finally start moving on. “The collateral consequences of convictions are just brutal,” says Suni, who continues to oversee the Clear My Record Project and teaches student lawyers working for the clinic. “There are the obvious things; people have trouble getting jobs, housing, public benefits and loans. The consequences cut across all areas, such as a parent not being permitted to go on their kid’s school trip. It  affects every aspect of their lives.” When the Clear My Record Project started, Suni hoped the expungement process in Missouri could be almost automatic. She thought perhaps a computer program could efficiently find eligible clients and help push through the required paperwork to help them get a fresh start. But as quickly as that idea arose, it became clear that Missouri’s expungement statute, substantially revised in 2018, was written far too narrowly for such automation. “The statute was very complex and confusing,” Suni recalls. “It became clear that this attempt to digitize the process to help people who don’t have lawyers wasn’t going to work.” A key issue was finding anyone who met the law’s narrow qualifications. For example, only certain non-violent and non-sex crimes are eligible for expungement. Furthermore, the law allows for the expungement of only one felony in a lifetime, and only two misdemeanors. As the 2018 law was written, a person had to wait seven years after completing a felony-related sentence or three years after a misdemeanor before applying for expungement. Moreover, having a pending case, even for a traffic violation, or owing fines or fees can prevent obtaining expungement. While hundreds of potential clients desperately needed a clean record to move forward, these strict requirements put expungement out of reach for most. “We discovered that very few people were fully eligible,” Suni says. Suni and others affiliated with the Clear My Record Project began using their experience with clients to push for changes that could open the process to more people and they’ve found some success. For example, the law was amended to shorten the waiting period to three years from seven for a felony, and to one year from three for a  misdemeanor, and a few new crimes were made eligible. Suni says the changes are an improvement, but more is needed. She and others across the state are advocating for additional legislative changes, including increasing the lifetime limit of convictions eligible for expungement to two felonies and three misdemeanors. Additional potential changes include providing more leeway for people who committed crimes between the ages of 16 and 25, and for those whose offenses occurred when they were addicted to drugs. Advocates also are pushing for the abolishment of a $250 surcharge currently assessed to anyone seeking expungement. Ragsdale says that fee, on top of other required court fees, puts expungement out of reach for many low-income clients who earn too much to receive a fee waiver, but will still struggle just to pay for food and housing. “It is way too expensive,” she says. Down the road, advocates would like to see the expungement process in Missouri become automatic. Once someone qualifies under the law, the state would initiate the process with no lawyer or court filing required. While advocates say the Missouri expungement process is still too complex and narrow, it has improved since UMKC’s clinic began. The clinic is seeing a bigger pool of qualified clients and the process is more efficient for hundreds of potential cases. Of the dozen expungements obtained through UMKC’s clinic, ten of those were granted during the last six months. In January, four of the clinic’s clients obtained expungement on the same day.       “It was extremely exciting,” says Kylee Gomez, a third-year law student who works as a research assistant at the clinic. “Until that point, we’d only had one or two happen.” “In every case, expungement is a second chance the client desperately needs,” says Bailey Baker, a second-year law student who also serves as a research assistant in the clinic. “I’ve seen how deeply the past mistakes someone makes, particularly when they were younger, can haunt them,” added Baker, a former social worker. “Expungement is a way to move on.” Some are hopeful for the future. Many of the provisions supported by the clinic passed both the Missouri House and Senate and will become law if signed by the governor. Aug 04, 2023

  • One-Time Gift Spurs Incredible Campaign of Giving

    How one man’s final gift will inspire generations
    It was an unusually warm and sunny late January day in Kansas City the day that David Westfall, Jr. (J.D. ’55) died. Those who knew him still remember his pleasant manner and giving spirit. At UMKC, his generosity is his legacy, though few here ever knew him at all. Westfall died in 2015 at the age of 89. The next year, the UMKC School of Law was contacted about an incredible, unexpected $1.1 million gift left behind in his estate. “It was a complete surprise,” says Kirk Baughan, who was the School of Law’s director of development at the time. He recalls how little anyone knew about Westfall at the time and says there wasn’t much more to be discovered. A native son of Kansas City, Westfall’s obituary reveals he was a proud Army veteran, serving a tour of duty in Europe during the second World War. Upon returning home, Westfall spent decades working as an attorney in the Argyle Building at 12th and McGee, later moving his practice to the historic Livestock Exchange Building in Kansas City’s West Bottoms. His personal life was dedicated to his faith in God and service to community, but never once is there mention of a spouse, children or any family at all. “He seemed to make his estate plan close to the time that he passed away,” says Baughan. “He knew that many of his assets were in his owned real estate. Gifts from his estate supported the UMKC School of Law, the University of Kansas and Saint Elizabeth’s Catholic Church in Kansas City.” Traditionally, a gift of $1 million or more made to a university is the result of a careful cultivation process. A dean and philanthropic impact professional will sit down with a company or individual to discuss detailed plans about the impact they want to make and how they want their money to be used. Not only was Westfall’s gift a surprise, but it was also completely unrestricted. Law School leadership and trustees knew they wanted to make the most of the windfall but weren’t immediately sure how to do it. Together, they decided on the idea of creating what they called The Westfall Matching Fund in support of law school scholarships, allowing donors to immediately double the impact of their contribution. “There was a lot of excitement around the arrival of this gift,” says J.R. Hobbs (J.D. ’81), then-president of the Law Foundation. “The trustees agreed that $300,000 would be used immediately to fund student scholarships. The remaining gift would be invested into the Law Foundation’s endowment and used to energize alumni and friends to create scholarship endowments to help students pay their tuition and fees.” The plan worked. The availability of matching funds was enough to convince donor after donor that their gift would go further through the School of Law. That was exactly the case for Ann Holmes, who established an endowed scholarship in honor of her father, Marvin Chester Holmes (J.D. ’37), who was once the president of his freshman class at then-Kansas City University. “I felt it was terribly important to honor my father with a named scholarship,” Holmes recalls. “As far as I know, my father never practiced law, but he used his education in many jobs — including that of a real estate appraiser.” Holmes admits the School of Law wasn’t necessarily her top charitable priority. However, after several meaningful conversations with the dean and learning that her gift would be doubled, she was convinced it was the right way to honor her father. Students were quick to join the excitement, too. The Diverse Student Coalition recently used the funds to grow its endowed scholarship to more than a quarter-of-a-million dollars through fundraising at its annual Diversity Banquet. The Campaign for Advocates, an effort to raise $1 million for UMKC Law’s advocacy programs, also benefited from the Westfall Matching Fund. Scott Bethune and Kent Emison established lead gifts for the campaign. The Westfall Matching Fund program encouraged several alumni and firms to join the campaign by creating their own named scholarships to support students who show talent and interest in pursuing trial advocacy careers. Those donors include the DanaJames Charitable Foundation; Wagstaff & Cartmell, LLP; The Hyde Family; and the Lathrop GPM Foundation. Westfall likely made a bigger impact than he could have known. The matching fund was so popular, it only took six years for the entire gift to be matched dollar-for-dollar. The final matching gift creates the Professor Julie M. Cheslik Merit Scholarship Endowment, an annual “full ride” scholarship expected to attract some of the brightest aspiring attorneys to UMKC. From the beginning, the Law Foundation knew the funds wouldn’t last forever. To honor his investment and ensure his legacy at UMKC, the Foundation renamed the endowed fund that supports academic achievement scholarships for law students the David I. Westfall, Jr. Merit Scholarship Endowment. Aug 04, 2023

  • UMKC, Veterans Community Project Gives Veterans the Edge in Booming Urban Agriculture Industry

    Container farming program plants seed for training as a pathway to economic viability
    There’s something special growing inside a cluster of shipping containers outside the Veterans Community Project at 89th and Troost Avenue in Kansas City. Inside three independent-model container farmhouses, U.S. military veterans are learning how to use controlled-growth environments for crops such as basil and mushrooms, and eventually strawberries. While there’s no soil inside the massive containers, there is an abundance of opportunity for the military veterans who are learning agribusiness skills that can improve their lives, as well as help feed the community. They're part of the From Seed To Table program, a pilot program between the University of Missouri-Kansas City and the Veterans Community Project (VCP), a nonprofit organization focused on ending military veteran homelessness. The VSP team recruits, selects and trains military veterans on container-farm processes, hydroponic systems, food safety and technological innovations combining farm and STEM for increased specialty crop production. Veterans also receive financial, marketing, entrepreneurship and private pesticide applicator training. The coalition’s overarching goal is to establish a pathway to economic viability and independence for veterans. The program has three main objectives: Recruit and retain 50 military veteran beginning farmers Transition at least 50% of these veteran farmers to agricultural or farm-STEM part-or full-time employment opportunities Develop a veteran, urban, organic and sustainable-focused pilot program that can be replicated at future VCP site locations by guaranteeing a market for specialty crops Led by Angela Cottrell, Ed.D., director of research and institute programs for the Missouri Institute for Defense and Energy and adjunct instructor in the UMKC School of Education, Social Work and Psychological Sciences, the program is funded by a three-year, $600,000 grant from the USDA and a $63,000 grant from the UMKC Entrepreneurship Innovation Program through the Kauffman Foundation. Cottrell partnered with U.S. Marine veteran and VCP CEO Bryan Meyer, J.D. ’06, whom she advised while he was studying law at UMKC. “I met with Bryan and just tossed out the idea, ‘What do you think about training veterans on controlled-environment agriculture?’” Cottrell said. Meyer didn’t need much convincing. His enthusiastic response to the idea, “All about it. Let’s go!’ planted the seed for forward movement. Cottrell said controlled-environment agriculture (CEA) has grown exponentially in recent years and is expected to be a $170 billion industry by 2025.  She envisioned a program where veterans could gain a new skill set, be compensated for their time and enter into a workforce development pipeline where they can find additional employment, and start their own farm or utilize that skill set to transition into a farm STEM-related position. Faculty from across several UMKC academic units joined to contribute their expertise. Juan Cabrera-Garcia, Ph.D., assistant research professor at UMKC and state vegetable specialist at University of Missouri Extension, serves as the team’s holistic horticulture expert and leads efforts to get the hydroponic systems up and running. JJ Lee, Ph.D., in earth and environmental sciences is helping to optimize sensors and water treatment systems. Jeff Hornsby, Ph.D., Henry W. Bloch Endowed Chair of Entrepreneurship and Director of the Regnier Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation leads entrepreneurship training for the veterans. Charles Murnieks, Ph.D., associate professor and the A. Gottlieb Chair of Strategic Management in the Department of Entrepreneurship and Management leads the entrepreneurship training for the veterans. Karin Chang, Ph.D., associate director and associate research professor in the School of Education, Social Work and Psychological Sciences, ensures the primary objectives are being met in her role as the external evaluator for the project. Controlled-environment techniques offer several advantages over traditional farming. “This is a solution, particularly for cities like Kansas City, and for areas where growing traditionally is just not possible,” Cottrell explained. “You’re reducing that footprint, yield 10 times the amount that you would on an acre of land, and you can grow year-round. Even if it’s 10 degrees outside we’re still able to farm, produce and train our veterans.” Not only are veterans learning how to grow the crops, but they’re also gaining other marketable job skills, including pesticide application and produce safety, according to Cabrera-Garcia. “We give them certificates to ensure that they have the ability to get hired in any agricultural enterprise,” Cabrera-Garcia said. Meyer said the partnership with UMKC appealed to him not only in terms of the growth and development it could offer local veterans, but also the shared goal with VCP to expand outreach beyond Kansas City. “This couldn’t have happened without community support,” Meyer said. “Now that we’ve established this model, we can grow into other locations." The first two cohorts of veterans have gone through the training program, and the next started in July. Their produce is available at Everyday Produce in Kansas City, as well as in local restaurants. While the education component remains at the forefront of the program, Cottrell says the team is “thinking big,” with plans to eventually distribute the produce to local neighborhoods in need. “We want to have a multimillion-dollar controlled-environment agriculture facility in Kansas City, where we are hyper-focused on serving impoverished neighborhoods  where we know food deserts exist, where we know access to nutritional food is expensive and very difficult to find,” Cottrell said. “We want to try to utilize this CEA system to provide that for Kansas City.” To further their efforts, Cottrell and Cabrera-Garcia are exploring interest and opportunities to develop a formal curriculum on CEA to attract new UMKC students and expose current students in other programs to urban agriculture. They received a $29,998 grant from National Institute of Food and Agriculture to survey the industry and UMKC students to assess the potential viability of a developing a minor degree. “There are individual classes and certificate programs available elsewhere. We want CEA to be the entire focus,” Cottrell said. Beside the educational component, she sees community benefits. “This could be students helping students. I could see students working the containers and we could provide fresh produce to the food pantry at the Dr. Raj Bala Agrawal Care Center at UMKC. It could go to Sodexo to be used in the university’s cafeteria.” In addition to the actual production, Cottrell sees opportunities for faculty as well. “There’s the opportunity for faculty engagement through biology, chemistry and medicine. We know there’s an interest in this type of programming in Kansas City. The students are excited about it. If we were able to move forward, we would be early adopters from an educational perspective.” Aug 03, 2023

  • UMKC Biomedical Engineering Program Starts this Fall

    Includes undergraduate and graduate degree options as well as an accelerated five-year combined degree
    The University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Science and Engineering has officially rolled out its biomedical engineering program. The program introduces students to both medicine and engineering principles to support innovation and discovery in biomechanics and orthopedics, imaging, bioinformatics, biotransport, bioelectronics and medical devices. “The program will also expose students to clinical aspects of biomedical engineering through collaborations with our medical school, which is not always the case in many undergraduate programs,” said Antonis P. Stylianou, Ph.D., who will be teaching as an associate professor as part of the biomedical engineering faculty. The program is designed based on a broad approach, combining aspects from electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, computer science, chemistry, biology, physics, medical training, pharmacology and pure biomedical engineering courses. The faculty reflects this diverse field, with professors from multiple disciplines teaching courses including engineering, medicine, pharmacy, dentistry, nursing and biological sciences. This multidisciplinary approach puts UMKC in a unique position to lead new breakthroughs in bioengineering. “Research related to bio and health technologies have increased at an astounding rate within the School of Science and Engineering at UMKC over the past few years ,” said Katherine Bloemker, assistant dean of academic affairs. “This research focus provides the perfect foundation for our biomedical engineering degrees. Plus, the UMKC Health Sciences Campus and the proximity of local research hospitals such as Children’s Mercy, University Health and Saint Luke’s provide unique opportunities for students to explore this field.” With the $32 million state-of-the-art Robert W. Plaster Free Enterprise and Research Center, students will be able to utilize facilities such as the Innovation Studio and the research labs. The building is equipped with cutting-edge technology, such as 3D printing labs, that will prepare graduates to excel in fields like careers in engineering, health care, medicine, dentistry, biotechnology, bioinformatic and pharmaceutical fields. Employment of bioengineers and biomedical engineers is projected to grow 10 percent from 2021 to 2031, faster than the average for all occupations, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Atlas Sizemore came to UMKC as a freshman, before the bioengineering degree launched, with the intent to enroll in the program when it launched. Now a sophomore, Sizemore is excited to join the program. “I plan on getting my graduate degree in prosthetics and going on to be a prosthetist,” Sizemore said. "I think that the biomedical engineering degree at UMKC will really help to prepare me with skills in design as well as the medical foundation of my work." Sizemore is particularly looking forward to taking 3D printing and design. In the future, the program will have a dedicated space in the $100 million Healthcare Innovation and Discovery Building, located at the UMKC Health Sciences Campus. Construction for that building is expected to begin later this fall, with a projected opening in 2026. Jul 31, 2023

  • Hog Farm to Courtroom: Student Pursues a Career in Agriculture Law

    Daniel Foose found an affinity for agriculture while working at a hog farm; now he wants to focus his future law practice in that industry
    Roos don't just dream, they do. Our students turn ideas into action every day. Get to know our people, and you'll know what UMKC is all about. Daniel Foose Anticipated graduation year: 2023 UMKC degree program: Juris Doctor Hometown: Marshall, Missouri Given his chosen career arc, you’d be tempted to assume that Daniel Foose grew up on a farm. Not so. “While my family did not own a farm or have anything to do with farming, I was fortunate enough to grow up around farming and agriculture,” he said. “In high school, I was very involved in FFA (a national agriculture education and leadership program) and earned my American FFA Degree. While in high school and even through college, I worked at a hog farm in Marshall.” While earning his undergraduate degree at Northwest Missouri State University, he set a course for a career in criminal law. He interned for the Nodaway County prosecutor, shadowed the Nodaway County associate circuit judge and eventually worked for the Saline County prosecutor in Marshall. A local internship convinced him to make a course correction. “During the summer after 1L year, I had the opportunity to work as an intern for Seaboard Corporation, a Fortune 500 agribusiness company located just outside of Kansas City in Merriam,” Foose said. “Seaboard is a major producer of pork, and I knew about them from my time working at the hog farm in high school and college. After interning for the summer, Seaboard graciously offered me the opportunity to stay and work as a law clerk for Seaboard Foods.” Long term, he plans to begin his career in general business litigation, then move to a focus on litigation involving agribusiness. “My education at UMKC has been challenging, yet fulfilling,” he said. “I have enjoyed learning from professors who are passionate about the law and the areas they teach, and I appreciate the variety of classes that are offered. Both the professors and the law school take seriously the charge of preparing the next generation of lawyers, which is a huge benefit to myself and all who attend UMKC School of Law.” Why did you choose UMKC? I chose UMKC because it is relatively affordable and close to home. Additionally, I have known and admired several attorneys that went to UMKC School of Law. Why did you choose your field of study? I chose the legal field because I knew it would put me in a great position to help others. Additionally, I had an absolutely wonderful advisor and mentor, Dan Smith, Ph.D., at Northwest Missouri State. Smith and the other great professors helped me in my decision to pursue a law degree. What are the challenges of the program? Law school is demanding – mentally, emotionally and financially. For me, the biggest challenge has been balancing my time so that I am able to fulfill my personal obligations while in law school. What are the benefits of the program? My law school peers are some of the most talented and intelligent people I have ever met. I have had professional opportunities that I would have never thought possible. Most importantly, I have made lifelong friendships in law school. How has your college program inspired you? I have achieved far more than I anticipated when I first started law school at UMKC. Finding academic success in law school gave me the confidence to go and seek out opportunities, both personally and professionally, that I otherwise wouldn’t have. Since entering college, what have you learned about yourself? I have learned that the difficulties and hardships you endure will only prevent you from being successful if you let them. No matter where you are from or what you have been through, you can accomplish anything.   Are you a first-generation college student? If so, what does that mean to you? I am not a first-generation college student. My mother made the brave decision to go to college after my father passed away and successfully graduated with her bachelor’s degree. I am, however, the first person in my family to go to law school (or graduate school in general) and will be the first lawyer in my family. Who/What do you admire most at UMKC and why? I admire my classmates. My class started law school while the pandemic was in full swing, and, even through Zoom classes, and never having a snow day, we made it through. Jul 31, 2023

  • UMKC Professor Led Charge for Free Diagnostic Breast Imaging for Missourians

    Amy Patel, M.D., championed a new law requiring medical insurers to cover all costs
    Amy Patel, M.D., of the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine, played a leading role in bringing about a new law in Missouri that requires health insurance companies to pay the full cost of diagnostic breast imaging without charging patients a co-pay or deductible. Patel is an assistant professor of radiology at UMKC,  medical director of the Breast Care Center at Liberty Hospital and  a 2011 alumna of the UMKC School of Medicine. She worked closely with State Rep. Brenda Shields and the Susan G. Komen organization to get the legislation drafted and passed. The legislation also had support from The Missouri State Medical Association, Missouri Radiological Society and the Missouri Society of Pathologists. Gov. Mike Parson signed the bill into law in July, and it takes effect in January 2024. Diagnostic imaging tests, such as 3D mammograms, MRIs or ultrasound exams, play a critical role in getting patients an early start in treating breast cancer, which greatly improves odds of overcoming the disease. This was not Patel’s first foray into advocacy on behalf of patients. In 2020, she campaigned for a new law that requires insurance companies to pay for breast cancer screenings for patients ages 25 to 29 if they are at higher risk, as well as screenings every six months from age 30. In 2022, Patel was named the Kansas City Chiefs Fan of the Year in recognition of her role as a leading community advocate for access to breast cancer treatment care. We caught up with Patel on the new legislation. What is the primary significance of this new law? This law requires Missouri insurance carriers to cover diagnostic breast imaging for patients without co-pay or deductible. This means that if a patient is called back for additional breast imaging testing such as a diagnostic mammogram, ultrasound or MRI, it must be covered without co-pay or deductible. Diagnostic breast imaging also encompasses patients who present with a lump or pain, or who have had prior surgeries for breast cancer which necessitate a diagnostic mammogram follow-up for a number of years.  Have you had experiences with patients who delayed diagnostic breast imaging because of the cost? What are the implications of that? Unfortunately, yes. We have had patients who do not return for additional diagnostic breast imaging testing when we know they have a breast cancer we need to address, and/or they return or present when the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes in the armpit and even other parts of the bodies at times.  Is that why you worked so hard on this? I worked hard on this because I live and breathe this every day in clinical practice. Patient access and bridging the gap of breast care inequities has become a life's calling and a focus of my career. I felt that I was in a position to advocate for change, and although we were not successful in getting this legislation passed last year, we soldiered on this year and were successful. Too many lives depended on it for us to not continue to fight for patient access. How does advocating for important changes like this demonstrate your commitment to your mission as assistant professor of radiology at UMKC School of Medicine? As much as I do have an avid interest in education and research, I feel that it is equally imperative to commit efforts to boots-on-the-ground advocacy and access. As I always say: what good is the research we do if we are not going to take that information and do something about it to positively and directly affect our patients? Through evidence-based care, we can bridge the gap of breast care inequities, and I am so appreciative that I am able to do this type of work, which is valued and respected by the UMKC School of Medicine.  Jul 28, 2023

  • UMKC Alumna First Year Teacher’s Advice for Success

    UMKC Institute for Urban Education prepped her for teaching, classroom management, commitment and fun
    Tanya Jones knew she wanted a career that enabled her to be a part of something bigger than herself. “I wanted to be a part of shaping young children’s minds and laying the foundation for generations to come,” Jones says. “I had many teachers who encouraged and guided me to become a better student, and coaches who taught me important lessons about being on a team.”  An alumna of Westport High School, Jones came to the University of Missouri-Kansas City Institute of Urban Education because she wanted to partner with families to ensure their children succeed academically, socially and emotionally. “I wanted to be a role model for students who did not have that in their lives.” As part of the UMKC curriculum, Jones was a student teacher at the Academy for Integrated Arts (AFIA) in Kansas City. She says it was a great opportunity to experience the culture of the school, understand what it takes to make a school run and see the benefits of teachers and staff who really look out for each other. “It was a great experience. They welcomed me with open arms.” In addition, her cooperating teacher allowed her to be hands-on in the classroom. “She was warm and welcoming, and was a great role model for someone like me, who is fresh in the field, to see what teaching is like on a day to day basis.” Jones says. Jones learned a lot from student teaching. “I learned classroom management skills, how to lesson plan and to never take things personally. Now I understand a student’s behavior is telling me something and it’s my job to proceed in a way that will benefit the student.” Even though she’d done her student teaching there, she was nervous when she received a call from AFIA to set up a job interview. “I was excited and nervous at the same time. We’d done role playing and acting out scenarios in class at UMKC, but I’d never had an interview like that before. I put my best foot forward and then I got a call that they wanted me to teach at AFIA.” On her first day she was nervous, but confident. “I knew that UMKC prepared me for my first day and the years to come. I was excited to implement what I’d learned in the classroom and student teaching.” Jones found that she had made a good career choice. She loves building relationships with her students and their families. In addition, she received the Outstanding Beginning Teacher Award from the Missouri Association of Colleges for Teacher Education. With her first year behind her, she has some advice for people who want to be teachers. “Go slow to go fast. Don’t take anything personally,” Jones says. “Have fun and the intention to build a strong foundation in your classroom. A strong classroom culture will develop positive habits. Make sure you enjoy being around kids, and that you have enough patience for them and their families. It’s better to keep an open mind and be ready to lead.” Jul 20, 2023

  • Three Questions with New Dean Sara Helfrich

    Meet the new UMKC School of Education, Social Work and Psychological Sciences leader
    Sara Helfrich has joined the UMKC School of Education, Social Work and Psychological Sciences as inaugural dean. Previously, Helfrich served as the interim dean of the Patton College of Education at Ohio University, where she oversaw four departments: Counseling and Higher Education; Recreation, Sport Pedagogy and Consumer Sciences; Educational Studies; and Teacher Education. In this role, she oversaw 125 faculty and staff at six campuses, serving nearly 2,000 undergraduate and graduate students. She received a Ph.D. in Instruction and Learning, Reading Education Cognate from the University of Pittsburgh. Did you have teachers who inspired you? I did, though not at the time. My third-grade teacher was terrifying. When I look back on it, it’s not how we would teach today, but she was a fantastic teacher of the whole person. She taught us to speak up for ourselves. The professor of my introductory education course my freshman year of college really challenged us to think about things that, at that time, were not talked about like they should have been and are today, like the gender assumptions we make about children, the toys we give them and how we expect them to play and act. She was very inspiring. Why did you become a teacher? From a young age, I just knew I wanted to be a teacher. I was drawn to it naturally. I liked working with people to help them learn and become better at something. My first teaching position was as a special education teacher. I loved the students, but I realized that I was unprepared to work with them because they all struggled with reading in different ways. As a second or third-year teacher, I didn’t know the best way to be helpful. I decided to get my doctorate in literacy education. Pretty quickly I realized that I could have the most impact working with pre-service teachers. Teaching teachers meant that I wasn’t only helping the children in my classroom, but helping the children in all of my students’ classrooms. What attracted you to UMKC initially? When I was looking into the dean’s position, UMKC Forward was in process. I thought the programs that were coming together in the school were a really magical combination. They speak to each other, and they can stand alone. I was amazed at the possibility of the future career paths for our students and the opportunity for the faculty and the students to work together. In addition, from the beginning, I was attracted to the university’s connection to Kansas City and its commitment to urban areas of the city. I grew up in an urban public school system. In college, I did some of my teacher training in urban schools, and it was great. I was excited that UMKC was intentionally focusing on placing students and graduates into urban schools and other clinical settings in the city. It’s a great give-and-take relationship. The things our faculty and students offer to the city are valuable, but the community offers as much to us.  My goal is to spread the message of our outstanding programs and the opportunities available to our students and alumni. We are helping to create talented professionals in education, counseling, research and social work who are making significant contributions in their communities. In addition to their success, they are role models for the next generation.”   Jul 18, 2023

  • Professor Credits UMKC Program for Help Securing $1.3 Million NIH Grant

    Shizhen “Jeff” Wang’s project will be funded for up to four years
    Shizhen “Jeff” Wang recently received the R01 grant, a research project award from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which will support his research for up to four years with about $1.3 million. Wang credits the UMKC Center for Advancing Faculty Excellence (CAFÉ) program for help in securing the funds. The CAFÉ program is currently in its second year. By providing comprehensive resources and support under four pillars (teaching and learning, service and engagement, research and creativity and faculty life and leadership), the program aims to advance faculty excellence. One of the resources under research and creativity include workshops. During the workshop Wang attended, Chris Liu, Ph.D., Yong Zeng, Ph.D. and Alexis Petri, Ph.D., shared their experiences applying for federal grants and, more importantly, as grant reviewers. “This was especially helpful for me as a junior faculty member without grant-reviewing experience. Developing the ability to write grant applications from the standpoints of reviewers is a key point to impress scientific reviewers and get their endorsements on my research project,” Wang said. The CAFÉ workshop that Wang attended also featured experienced senior faculty Mark Johnson, Ph.D., professor at the UMKC School of Dentistry. His talk on preparing compelling grant applications to the NIH and effective ways to communicate with program officers to get their help and support was extremely helpful for Wang as he prepared his grant summary proposal. Feedback from other workshop attendees and the seed money that supported Wang’s quest to obtain his research’s preliminary data were additional benefits the CAFÉ workshop provided him as he worked on his grant application. The grant will help support Wang’s project to understand the structure, function and drug modulation of cardiac voltage-gated sodium channel Nav1.5. Wang’s lab will research how the Nav1.5 channel opens or closes in response to electrical stimuli and how genetic mutations alter the structure and function of the Nav1.5 channel that could lead to life-threatening diseases. These studies will pave the way for developing novel drug molecules to treat arrhythmias with higher specificities. Jul 18, 2023

  • Taylor Swift Eras Tour, Lizzo Are Part of This UMKC Dance Alum's Resume

    Conservatory alumnus Kameron Saunders even had the chance to ‘make the whole place shimmer’ in Kansas City recently
    Kameron Saunders (B.F.A.) is currently on the Eras tour with Taylor Swift as a backup dancer. Although originally from St. Louis, Saunders considers Kansas City a second home. Ahead of Swift’s Kansas City concerts, Saunders posted a picture on Instagram sporting a Khalen Saunders Chiefs jersey. It just so happens, the dancer and the former Chiefs defensive tackle are brothers! In the post, Saunders stood in Arrowhead Stadium with open arms and a gleeful smile.   “I graduated from UMKC, I lived here on and off for the past 4 years, my brother played for the Chiefs (2019-2023) and I’ve been to games at this stadium way more times than I can count to support my brother but never been on the field. Full circle!!!” Saunders wrote in the caption. View this post on Instagram A post shared by Kameron N. Saunders (@kamnsaunders) The announcement of Saunders’s booking came on social media after the tour’s opening night in Glendale, Arizona. “I can finally announce that I am one of 15 dancers (the only plus size) on the Eras world tour with Taylor Swift. I have been holding onto this since December when I got the call. We opened last night in Arizona and I am just overwhelmed by all the love messages and DMs.” View this post on Instagram A post shared by Kameron N. Saunders (@kamnsaunders) It’s not the first time Saunders has shared the stage with a mega star. The choreographer and dancer also performed with Lizzo at the BET awards last year. View this post on Instagram A post shared by Kameron N. Saunders (@kamnsaunders) Jul 17, 2023

  • UMKC Biology Professor Receives Frontiers Trailblazer Pilot Grant

    The award will fund promising research on a treatment for ALS
    A University of Missouri-Kansas City researcher has secured funding for a project which could significantly improve the lives of people diagnosed with the deadly neurodegenerative disease ALS, commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Thomas Menees, an associate biology professor, and his collaborator, Aaron Gitler from Stanford University, received the Frontiers Trailblazer Pilot award to further their research, which advances a promising drug therapy for the disease. Currently, there are no treatments that significantly alter the course of this disease, and death typically occurs within two to five years of diagnosis. Most ALS cases are associated with clumping of the RNA-binding protein TDP-43 inside motor neurons of the brain and spinal cord, which leads to motor neuron death.  Gilter and Menees were both studying enzymes that suppress TDP-43 aggregation, and thus decided to collaborate to identify these enzymes that could help treat ALS and HIV infection when inhibited. Menees plans to carry the work forward by using the best inhibitor to develop a drug for ALS.  “We’re in the ‘Valley of Death’ stage right now in the drug development process,” Menees said. “This is where basic research discoveries that could help patients have advanced to a point where targeted, applied research funding is important, but hard to get. Our project will take our best inhibitor and design novel, more effective inhibitors that could slow or stop the progression of ALS.”  This project is a collaboration among UMKC, Stanford University and the University of Kansas. Jul 13, 2023

  • Dental Student Honored with Remington R. Williams Award

    Remington R. Williams Award, named in honor of late student leader and UMKC alumnus, recognizes outstanding character and collaborative spirit
    Shonte Reed, a rising fourth-year DDS student at the UMKC School of Dentistry, has been chosen to be the inaugural UMKC recipient of the Remington R. Williams Award. She will be recognized at the June 29 Board of Curators meeting for maintaining an outstanding academic record while providing exceptional leadership and service. UMKC alumnus Remington Williams (J.D. ’22), the student representative to the University of Missouri Board of Curators, died in a car accident last year. He was revered as a natural leader and caring human being who accomplished much, driven by a passion for helping others. “Shonte Reed has demonstrated exceptional leadership and commitment to her classmates, and to her community,” said UMKC Chancellor Mauli Agrawal. “Her tireless efforts to encourage more young people of color to pursue careers in dentistry and other health professions are a testament to her character, and exemplify the spirit of Remy Williams.” During her time at UMKC, Reed has served as Student Council vice president of the class of 2024; president of the UMKC Student National Dental Association/Hispanic Student Dental Association; national vice president of the Student National Dental Association; treasurer for the UMKC Dental Anesthesiology Club; and a representative on the School of Dentistry Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council. She established a national network of prospective and current minority dental students through her social media platform and business, Black Dental Students & Pre-Dents, LLC. Faculty and staff turn to her often to counsel prospective students from underrepresented backgrounds as an ambassador for the UMKC School of Dentistry. She mobilized the organizations she led to participate in recruitment efforts at historically Black colleges and universities; led efforts by the organization to support Black-owned businesses in Kansas City; and organized holiday toy drives for Children’s Mercy Hospital in 2021 and 2022. Reed also has served as a mentor in the Students Training in Academia, Health, and Research (STAHR) Partnership, a collaborative of the UMKC schools of medicine, dentistry and pharmacy. The program is designed to increase the number of students from disadvantaged backgrounds entering health care programs and better prepare them for success academically and professionally. In a letter of recommendation to the scholarship committee, Richard H. Bigham, assistant dean for student programs, wrote: “In my twenty plus years of working in higher education, she is the most exceptional student I have ever supported and has become a transformational leader for our community.” In addition to multiple recommendations from School of Dentistry faculty and staff, her nomination was also endorsed by Laila Hishaw, DDS, a UMKC alumna and president of the board, Diversity in Dentistry Mentorships Inc.; and Melissa Robinson, president of the Black Health Care Coalition in Kansas City. The Remington R. Williams Awards are the highest non-academic award bestowed on students by the Board of Curators and are given in memory of his outstanding service as Student Representative to the Board (2020-2022). Recipients will be selected annually from among the four UM System universities and will receive a leadership medal to wear at graduation, a $1,000 award and an invitation to be recognized at a Board of Curators meeting. The awards recognize exceptional student leaders who have also made an impact on their respective institution, inspired growth and development of fellow students in both academics and extracurricular activities, and exhibited outstanding character and collaborative spirit at all times. Jun 28, 2023

  • Side by Side

    Student entrepreneurs champion the side hustle
    In 2022, Americans started 400,000 new businesses every month, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Of those, nearly 300,000 were side hustles. Between 40 and 45 percent of Americans have a side hustle or “moonlight” at another job, and those numbers have increased significantly during the past five years. Financial gain, creative expression, autonomy and altruism are some of the many goals and objectives that motivate these entrepreneurial ventures. “The economy, COVID-19, ownership over one’s career and individual creativity has made more people pursue side hustles,” says Alex Krause Matlack, director, Entrepreneurship Scholars (E-Scholars), assistant teaching professor and assistant director assistant director for UMKC’s Regnier Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. “Some studies indicate that by the end of this decade, nearly half of individuals will be entrepreneurs because of the type of portfolio careers emerging from the gig economy industry.” The entrepreneurial spirit that has propelled this “golden age of the side hustle” flourishes at UMKC. UMKC Launches a Side Hustle Challenge In 2022, the Henry W. Bloch School of Management and Regnier Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation introduced the first Side Hustle Challenge for UMKC students. The challenge was initiated, in part, as a response to this thriving national trend. “We learned, through a cross-campus survey, that while only a small percentage of students were interested in being entrepreneurs, many already have side hustles,” says Matlack. “Sometimes it’s hard to self-identify as an entrepreneur, but that’s exactly what these students are doing. We wanted to find a new way to connect with students who might not think of themselves as entrepreneurs but who are doing something very entrepreneurial.” The Side Hustle Challenge, which mirrors real-world side hustle development, both differs and dovetails with existing Bloch School and Regnier Institute programs. “This is the first of our programs specifically targeting side hustles, or smaller businesses, students may be launching on the side,” says Matlack. “The challenge also connects to the E-Scholars program where students can launch their projects over the course of a semester.” The challenge is an opportunity for students to pursue their entrepreneurial initiatives at a scale that allows them to continue with school. They gain knowledge and skills to develop their ideas and connect with audience wants and needs. “Getting to know customers as a path to growth rather than riskier forms of entrepreneurship are benefits of side hustles,” Matlack says. “A venture funded by the growth of customers, rather than venture capital, is a great way to know you’ve reached product-market fit and have product customers are excited to pay for.” Student Entrepreneurs Embrace the Side Hustle Challenge Elle Domann, Tate Berry and Olivia Gray explored those strategies and were the inaugural Side Hustle Challenge winners. Domann placed first in the Side Hustle Challenge with her project, Studio L, a rentable studio and coworking space for photographers and creative businesses. “After moving to Kansas City to attend UMKC, I’ve been able to further my photography career immensely,” says Domann, who will graduate this spring with a degree in business administration, with a double emphasis in entrepreneurship and innovation and finance. “In my hometown of Springfield, there wasn’t access to affordable resources for creative businesses like in Kansas City. Last year, I made it my mission to develop a space in Springfield where creators can work without the costs of typical studios.” After extensive work on the space, Domann launched Studio L last October. “I had no experience owning a brick-and-mortar store,” she adds. “It came with a lot more challenges and learning opportunities than a service-based business, like photography. The space needed renovations which was a challenge, as I had no carpenter experience. I wanted to save money, so this meant doing the work myself.” “My favorite part of this experience is that I learn something every day. It’s a continual process of problem-solving and making changes.” Like Domann, Berry also developed a business focused on creative professionals. His project, Musician Value Elevation, is an online platform for music business and entrepreneurship. “Music Value Elevation is an alternative to paying thousands of dollars for music school but not acquiring the skills needed to survive,” said Berry, who will graduate this spring with a double degree in jazz studies and business marketing. “Musicians will learn how to make their ideas sustainable and provide value to others.” Berry began developing his idea in Fall 2021 during the Bloch School Entrepreneurship Class. He refined his plans during the 2022 New Product Development course. “The idea brought my music and business interests together,” said Berry, the 2022 UMKC Bloch School Student Entrepreneur of the Year. “My entrepreneurship classes were creative incubators that made it easier to determine my goals and find resources.” “I learned to use design thinking in my approach and interviewed musicians and educators about music school and what they wish they’d learned. I also researched the overall value of the music industry and its untapped potential.” After he graduates, Berry will continue to develop Musician Value Elevation and his other business ventures, including Tate’s Burnin’ Big Band. “I need to get the capital and develop the materials and website,” he said. “Then, I’ll prototype the product so I can launch.” In early 2022, Gray acquired her real estate license, so she could enter the challenge. “I had no experience in real estate but taught myself the ins and outs of the industry over Christmas Break and passed the tests before Spring Semester,” recalls Gray, who will graduate with an accounting degree in 2025. “I launched this side hustle because I didn’t want to be a broke college student. Real estate seemed like a good way to make money while also being flexible, so I could still focus on my studies.” The Side Hustle: A World of Opportunity and Discovery In contrast to the challenge promoted by Bloch and the Regnier Institute, entrepreneurial initiatives are not always encouraged in the workplace. Until recent years, employees with side hustles, or those who “moonlight,” have been compelled to keep their pursuits under wraps. However, this mindset has seen a shift. Many organizations have recognized employee side hustles are positive for the work environment and boost employee well-being. New terms, such as “daylighting” instead of moonlighting, reflect this change. “Some company policies still don’t allow employees to take on outside work,” Matlack notes. “However, research from Adam Grant [a nationally known organizational psychologist] supports that side hustles make employees more productive and creative.” At UMKC, entrepreneurial explorers bring their ventures to life, and they learn about themselves in the process. As these discoveries unfold, their initial vision may transform. “Initially, my side hustle goal was just to make money, but that has changed,” reflects Gray. “I’m now finding ways I can use my side hustle to help other people and plan to implement those within the next couple of years. My plans include renovating and selling affordable houses to people who may not have adequate funds.” Jun 23, 2023

  • Back and Better Than Ever

    Improved Heritage Hall reopens to high praise
    Last summer’s grand reopening of Bloch Heritage Hall marked a two-fold celebration, remembering Henry W. Bloch on what would have been his 100th birthday and the revitalization of a campus cornerstone. Alumni, students, university leadership, city officials, donors and members of the Bloch family all gathered for the celebration and ribbon cutting.  But now that the party is over, it’s back to class. Bloch Heritage Hall is an amalgamation of the historic Shields Mansion, an estate built in the early years of the 20th century for grain magnate Edwin W. Shields and his wife, Martha, and a sprawling addition the university completed in 1986 with a $1 million contribution from Henry Bloch himself. With the opening of Bloch Executive Hall in 2013, Heritage Hall’s $17 million upgrade was necessary to keep up to date with the evolving school.  “The recent renovation of Bloch Heritage Hall has been a game changer, not only for our students, but for our faculty and staff as well,” says Scott Ezzell, manager of undergraduate admissions and recruitment. “Students now have a variety of indoor and outdoor spaces in Heritage Hall available to use for individual study, group collaboration or simply just to relax and socialize between classes. More students stick around between classes than ever before, and there’s a distinct energy throughout the building that wasn’t as noticeable before the renovation.”  As part of the project, the Marion H. Bloch Terrace and Park also went through a transformational beautification and enhancement, providing outstanding space for students, faculty and staff to gather and collaborate. It has also been, and will continue to be, the site for many events at the school, helping to build connections and community.    The multi-year project sought to maintain the aesthetics of the building’s historic exterior, while moving dated sections of the building’s interior into the 21st century with new offices, gathering spaces and classrooms entwined with modern technology that fosters flexible learning environments for students.  Only accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for remote learning options has grown in recent years, as more students demand hybrid learning models to balance classwork with outside obligations. Each classroom touched by the renovation now includes such amenities as video screens, cameras and microphones, allowing access to lessons and lectures from virtually anywhere. “The new designs and renovations make it easy for students to collaborate and work together in class to solve problems,” says Brian Klaas, dean of the Bloch School. “They give students new options for how to engage, with some joining in-person and others opting to participate virtually.”  The renovation not only improves technology but also centralizes previously hard-to-find resources into a single student services hub. From the building’s main entrance, students can now directly access valuable assets, including undergraduate advising, the career center, recruiting, tutoring and student organizations.  Designed by PGAV Architects, the hub was created by filling in two floors of an atrium — the centerpiece of the 1986 addition. Newly created floor space on the first floor created an open common area where students can mingle and meet.  “In addition to the renewed energy, students, faculty and staff are now even more accessible as a result of the new Bloch Student Services Hub. Students can now just come to the hub’s front desk to find help with anything they need,” Ezzell added. “It could be a prospective student wanting to learn more about Bloch and our programs, a current student needing class or career advice or someone wanting to visit their professor during their office hours. With most of Bloch’s faculty and services offices centrally located, we’re able to serve our students and collaborate with one another more efficiently and effectively.”   Jun 23, 2023

  • Bloch expands Campus Partnerships

    Lessons in business for the arts, history, science, medicine and more
    The Bloch School has a unique campus-wide mission: spread an entrepreneurial mind-set and business thinking across UMKC’s campus and into the broader community. Bloch academic partnerships range from specific examples, such as the Graduate Certificate in Performing Arts Management, a joint program with the Conservatory; to more general, such as the Entrepreneurship Innovation Grant program, which supports student, faculty or staff initiatives in entrepreneurship across all academic units. These initiatives can include curriculum development, technology commercialization, school and department innovation, community engagement and ecosystem building. The Entrepreneurship Minor, which is open to all UMKC students, brings an entrepreneurial perspective to a student’s major field of study. Students from outside the Bloch School have the option of replacing up to two electives with discipline-related entrepreneurship electives. In addition to course work, Enactus, a student club focused on entrepreneurial public-service projects, is run from Bloch but open to students in any major. “Only about half the students in Enactus are business majors, and the Entrepreneurship minor is the most diverse program in the Bloch school,” said Jeff Hornsby, Curators’ Distinguished Professor, Henry W. Bloch/Missouri Endowed Chair of Entrepreneurship and Director, Regnier Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. “I really feel that the effort to spread entrepreneurial thinking to all corners of UMKC has been greatly reinforced by all of the cooperation we’ve received from the schools across campus.” The Cross Campus Advisory Board works to promote a culture of entrepreneurship throughout UMKC. The group includes faculty from seven different academic units outside Bloch, plus staff from the UMKC Innovation Center. The School of Law maintains longstanding partnerships with Bloch through the Business and Entrepreneurial Law emphasis area, including the Law, Technology and Public Policy course at the law school and the Entrepreneurial Legal Services Clinic. During the clinics, law students, who are overseen by faculty, provide legal support for startup efforts. Students completing a B.A. degree in Urban Studies may pursue early admission to the Bloch Master of Public Administration (MPA) program while simultaneously reducing the total number of hours required to complete the MPA. Similarly, students enrolled in an undergraduate program at the School of Science and Engineering may apply for entrance to the Professional Master of Business Administration (PMBA) program at the beginning of the final year of their undergraduate program. Students in the B.A./M.D. program at the School of Medicine can pursue the PMBA during a leave of absence after the completion of year four. Students in the School of Dentistry DDS program or the School of Pharmacy’s Pharm.D. program can pursue the PMBA simultaneously. Because the UMKC PMBA can be completed online, Pharm.D. students at any one of the three campus locations (Kansas City, Columbia, Springfield) may apply to the this program. Jun 23, 2023

  • Three UMKC Students Win Grants to Study Abroad

    Tyler Center for Global Studies funds student research projects in Argentina, Iceland and Jordan
    Three UMKC undergraduate students have received $2,000 grants from the Tyler Center for Global Studies to fund research projects in foreign countries. Yasmeen Hanon will study international issues such as Arab-Israeli relations, regional conflicts, politics, international relations, environment and more in Amman, Jordan. Maximus Reeds will research media bias involving news coverage of the indigenous Mapuche people in Puerto Madryn, Argentina. Mya Thomas will work on creating a safer and more accurate modeling system for volcanic lava tubes at the Askja volcano in Iceland. They are the first UMKC students to receive research funding from the Tyler Center, which works to advance global education through funding organizations and programs that support international education, innovation and research, with priority given to Pell-eligible students. Maximus Reeds, Argentina Reeds, of Lee’s Summit, launched his project in the capstone seminar program in the UMKC Department of History. His ethnic background is Welsh-Argentine, and he has been following the struggles of the Mapuche people in Chile and Argentina and the Welsh people in the United Kingdom for several years. In his preliminary research, he found significant differences in media coverage of these issues between media outlets with a nationwide audience, and those primarily serving local communities. In Argentina and Chile, he said, the national media tend to portray these issues through the lens of their individual political leanings. He also noted that violent interactions dominate coverage. “These interpretations disregard the daily, peaceful interactions between Mapuches and Argentine and Chilean citizens, which is the focus of local newspapers.” Mya Thomas, Iceland Thomas is from Columbia, Missouri and is majoring in earth and environmental science with an emphasis in geology; she is also enrolled in the UMKC Honors Program and is pursuing a minor in astronomy and a certificate in geographic information systems. She will be traveling to Iceland with her research mentor, Prof. Alison Graettinger. The basis for her research is that volcanoes are dangerous places, and not just when they erupt. Scientists often have to navigate dangerous terrain, including caves and lava collapse features, lava tubes and holes. Thomas is working on a method to create accurate digital models of features such as lava tubes. “Understanding the nature of lava tubes is important to my academic path because my interest falls in planetary science,” Thomas said. “Studying cave environments is important to planetary science since they may be considered as living quarters for astronauts on extraterrestrial lands.” Yasmeen Hanon, Jordan Hanon recently received a Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship for her research project in Jordan. Hanon, from Kansas City, will spend this summer at CIEE in Amman, Jordan, conducting an analysis of how western and Middle Eastern media outlets perceive and portray conflicts in the Middle East. She is pursuing a double major in political science and environmental science, with an international studies minor. Jun 23, 2023

  • On The Job

    Bloch Consulting Lab creates lessons from real-world experiences
    As MBA student Msgana Teklebrhan Zegeye sees it, a business consultant’s job is to learn whatever a client needs them to learn. That’s exactly what she’s done in her job as a student consultant employed with the Consulting Lab, a new Regnier Institute initiative at the Bloch School. With generous donor support, the Lab hires students like Zegeye to serve as pro-bono consultants for Kansas City-area entrepreneurs and small businesses. Working under faculty supervision, student consulting teams provide a range of services, including market research, business plan development and financial modeling. The lab is designed to both provide opportunities for experiential learning and valuable consulting resources for the community, with a particular focus on entrepreneurs and small businesses from under-served communities. It also helps students develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills, analytic capabilities and communication skills. As part of this effort, the Lab has partnered with several organizations that work with entrepreneurs from underserved communities. These partners have been instrumental in identifying clients that might bene-fit from the Lab’s consulting resources. AltCap, G.I.F.T., the Urban League, Pipeline Pathfinders and Pathway Financial Education have all been working with the Lab to create connections with potential clients. The Lab also partnered with Vantage Airport Group, the company overseeing concessions at the new Kansas City International Airport. During this project, Zegeye and the other students on the consulting team worked with the local businesses preparing to open inside the new concourse. For all of the Bloch Consulting Lab projects, the consulting team must first understand the client’s business and the nature of the problem that they are being asked to address. Then they must develop a thorough understanding of any unique aspects of the client’s operation. Photo by Brandon Bland | UMKC Working with concessionaires at the Airport, the consultants learned about special security precautions that affect how a business operates. They learned that restaurants can have knives, but only if the knives are tethered to a wall. They learned that employees must live at the address printed on their official ID and about other security requirements that might affect the available pool of employees. They learned about how the business model for a restaurant or store may need to change when operating inside an airport. They also learned about the challenges of attracting workers given the distance to the airport from where many potential employees live. “I’m not going to say problems didn’t arise,” Zegeye says of her consulting work leading up to the airport’s grand opening. “But, figuring out how to manage them has been one of the best things.” The Consulting Lab is a relatively new Bloch School initiative, opening just last summer. Friends of the school have provided both philanthropic support and creative ideas about how the Lab can be most impactful, both for students and the community. Mike Plunkett, co-founder of PayIt and chair of the Bloch Advisory Board, led productive brainstorming sessions with the Bloch Advisory Board about how to launch and support the Lab. Young Sexton, founder of WingGate Travel and the Sexton Family Foundation, advocated for leveraging student expertise to help underserved entrepreneurs accelerate growth at key stages of the entrepreneurial development cycle. Roger Nelson, former deputy chairman of Ernst & Young, developed processes for the Lab to support application-based learning and to enhance the effectiveness of consulting services. Jeffrey S. Hornsby, director of the Regnier Institute and the Henry W. Bloch Endowed Chair of Entrepreneurship, is one of the faculty members overseeing student consulting teams. According to Hornsby, “This is the perfect project for a school with a strong commitment to community engagement, one that reflects Henry Bloch’s long-standing vision for the school.” In addition to their work at the airport, consulting teams worked with several clients identified through other organizations. This included projects for an entrepreneur with a strong, on-going business who wanted to expand via diversification into a related line of business, a technology firm in early startup mode who needed assistance with its business plan and a new venture that needed assistance with brand development.While working with the Consulting Lab, students are assigned to teams and supervised by a Bloch School professor. The Lab, which plans to employ between 30 and 40 students annually in future years, is open to students from across business disciplines, which means the Lab will be able to offer a variety of services.“It really offers great experience for students,” says Marvin Carolina, Jr., an assistant teaching professor who worked with the team of students assigned to the airport. “This is real time. This is real business. This is real life.” With every project, student consultants start by listening to what their client is looking for and understanding their business goals. From there, they consider how best to provide support. The student consulting team also highlighted how their work with other clients helped prepare them for the work with the airport vendors. Erik Klaas suggested that, “Over the summer, I was able to work with businesses and entrepreneurs in their early start-up stages. Those early experiences in working with small businesses provided me with a great foundation for taking on the airport project.”“Most of these students have worked in jobs where they’ve earned a wage and gotten a W-2,” says Bruce Snyder, a faculty advisor to the lab who spent more than 30 years at Ernst & Young, a business management consultant firm based in Kansas City. “But to talk to a business owner and understand what it takes to succeed is not something out of a textbook where you’re given the facts and the numbers. These are not, by any means, textbook cases. They’re very fluid.” “Helping businesses in urban, underserved communities overcome obstacles, to become stronger and cre-ate jobs will make communities stronger,” says Snyder. “Economic growth is the key to any successful urban community.” From the Bloch students’ perspectives, the Consulting Lab is also designed to provide hands-on experience that will help them compete for top jobs when they’re ready to enter the business world.Henry Meeds, who is majoring in management and accounting, says the experience he gained while working with the Consulting Lab helped him land a permanent job in New York City. When he graduates this spring, Meeds will step into a consulting position with PwC, one of the country’s top consulting firms.“We’re getting hands-on experience during every part of the project,” Meeds says of his team’s work at the airport. “We’re doing things that maybe a partner would be doing at PwC.”Nicolas Hartung, another student on the airport project, says the consulting work has made him a more confident communicator.“In January, we went (to the airport) and delivered our project to all of the concession owners and opera-tors there,” he says. “It was a really cool experience because we saw how we’re helping them firsthand, and that they were actually going to take our advice and learn from it.”As part of the experience, students learn to sell themselves, Snyder says. Although the lab doesn’t charge clients, students need to persuade clients to give them the time it takes to provide consulting for their businesses. Some clients realize that the students’ ages and perspectives can offer perfect measure for how their business plan will be received.“Being candid, we’ve had some businesses come to us with what they think is a good strategy or a good development, but we’re scratching our heads and wondering how this would work,” Snyder says. “Then the businesses realize that if the students, who represent the demographic group they may be targeting don’t understand, it’s unlikely the general public will.”Gaining a new perspective was a big reason Vantage’s general manager, Lovell Holloway was excited for the opportunity to work with Bloch’s student consultants. “This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity and our vision was, how do we bring more people along?” Holloway recalls. “We have legacy behaviors around staffing, economic impact studies and internships. We wanted to break the norm.”Holloway asked students to get involved in each of those areas as his company opened concessions at the airport.“Having the perspectives of people from a younger generation only made sense,” he says. “They’d have fresh ideas and help us look at this from a better point of view.” Jun 23, 2023

  • UMKC Enactus Reaches U.S. Semi-Finals

    Sustainable projects carry team to eighth in the nation
    For a second year in a row, the UMKC Enactus team has broken into the semi-final round of the Enactus USA Competition, beating dozens of teams from across the country to place eighth in the overall competition. The competition, held in mid-April, drew more than 500 students from 51 American universities to the University of Texas at Dallas. Each team was given 12 minutes to share their innovative new business ventures, with an emphasis on how those projects are affecting positive change. “Our students answer needs in a community using social entrepreneurship and create projects that are supposed to be sustainable,” says Erin Blocher, faculty advisor and assistant teaching professor for business communication at the Henry W. Bloch School of Management. “They’re using the entrepreneurial process to find a need and uncover solutions using human-centered design.” Blocher says many teams focus their efforts around answering one or more of the United Nations’ 17 sustainable development goals. The UMKC team focused their presentation around two sustainable projects, Generation Green and Cultura En Tus Manos. Generation Green is a startup founded by UMKC Enactus in partnership with Shatto Milk Company of Kearney, Missouri. Team President, Marineth Ordinal says the team was inspired by Shatto’s reusable glass bottles but saw room for improvement. “The one thing that can’t be reused is the bottle cap,” Ordinal says. “One of our team members saw that and asked, ‘what can we do with all of that plastic?’” Through research, they learned that the caps are made from plastic with a relatively low melting point and that those lids could be turned into reusable dry erase boards for students. So far, they’ve sold more than  to several school districts around the Kansas City area. Cultura En Tus Manos, Spanish for “culture in your hands,” aims to empower Mexican artisans by providing a platform where they can sell their beautifully hand-crafted goods to businesses in the United States. Blocher says inspiration for Cultura came as a product of the pandemic. “Artisans weren’t getting the same traffic in places like city squares, because tourism had halted. Now part of the students’ roles is to figure out, now that we’re out of the pandemic, does that project move forward? Are there still ways to help and platform those artists and connect them with merchants here in Kansas City?” UMKC Enactus will continue to work on projects through the summer months, but not all members of the 2023 competition team will be there. The team held its end of year celebration on May 2, saying goodbye to senior members, including Ordinal, who leaves the team in the hands of a new president for a new year. “I’m really super proud of what we’ve accomplished,” Ordinal says. “I think we