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July

  • Two NEH Grants to Aid High-Tech Humanities Research

    Use of digital photography, computer analysis and cataloging bring historical texts alive for modern researchers.
    UMKC researchers’ 21st century methods for analyzing records from the Middle Ages and the 17th century have received a $400,000-plus boost from two grants by the National Endowment for the Humanities.   One grant, for $324,317, goes to a team led by Jeffrey Rydberg-Cox and Virginia Blanton, both curators’ distinguished professors in English; Nathan Oyler, associate professor of chemistry; Zhu Li, associate professor of computer science and director of the Center for Big Learning; and Yugi Lee, professor of computer science. Their project, titled “Unlocking the Mysteries of a Medieval Chant Book with Multispectral Imaging,” furthers their work with a new method for analyzing early modern manuscripts and print materials. It draws upon special collections held by UMKC, the Linda Hall Library and the University of Kansas. A sophisticated camera Oyler built is able to capture a wide spectrum of colors in Medieval manuscripts, including some the human eye cannot see, giving the other professors and the graduate students on their team the ability to extract more information from the texts. They hope the method eventually could be used widely by graduate students in their research, and by smaller libraries to analyze their own collections. The team has been working on the project since 2014 and first published on it in 2015. Rydberg-Cox said the new grant will help finance refinements in the multispectral imaging equipment and support two graduate students on the team for three years. Blanton said the team was gratified to have national funding affirm its work, and grateful to the UM system for funding at an earlier stage that helped get the project going. “These NEH grants are very competitive, so it’s exciting to receive one and build on the support UMKC has given us. It shows we are headed in the right direction.”    — Viviana Grieco The other grant, for $100,000, goes to a project of Viviana Grieco, associate professor of history and Latin American and Latinx studies, and Praveen Rao, who taught computer science at UMKC before moving to MU-Columbia earlier this year. Their project, titled “A Knowledge Graph for Managing and Analyzing Spanish American Notary Records,” aims to unlock thousands of notary records from Argentina. The records, from the 17th century, were written in a script that can be difficult to decipher, Grieco said, even after years of study. Making the texts digital and developing a system for reading them will make them accessible to researchers. And although notary records may sound dry, Grieco pointed out that “they touch on every aspect of life and how a society is organized. Wills, contracts, dowries and other records can tell us about trade, poverty and other economic, social and political arrangements.” Like the other grant winners’ project, their work crosses disciplines to get a deeper look at the past. Grieco and Rao met while organizing a UM System summit on bringing technology and the humanities together, and it has been a fruitful collaboration. Using “big data” techniques such as deep learning and scalable knowledge management, Rao said, will make it possible for researchers without substantial technical backgrounds to quickly search and access thousands of records for information relevant to whatever aspect of history and society they are researching. “It brings the humanities into the digital age,” he said. Grieco said their project, just a year and a half old, also got an early boost from seed money from UMKC. “These NEH grants are very competitive, so it’s very exciting to receive one and build on the support UMKC has given us,” Grieco said. “It shows we are headed in the right direction.” The awards for UMKC were two of four that went to Missouri institutions from the NEH, and were among  238 grants totaling $30 million. The other Missouri projects will benefit the St. Louis Botanical Garden and an MU-Columbia project making a volume 18th-century engraved prints and essays available digitally. A full list of the 238 grants by geographic location is available here.    Jul 30, 2020

  • Pat Tillman Scholar and Veteran Aims To Become School Administrator

    Roberto Diaz advocates for underserved and underrepresented children
    Get to know our people and you'll know what UMKC is all about. Name: Roberto DiazHometown: Pomona, CaliforniaUndergraduate University: California State University, Long BeachUMKC degree program: Education SpecialistAnticipated graduation year: Fall 2020 Growing up in a single-parent home in Pomona, California, Roberto Diaz resisted the influence of gang violence by getting involved in community education programs like the ones he aspires to someday lead. After joining the Marine Corps Reserve his sophomore year of college, which he said taught him discipline and perseverance, he gained transferrable skills that he applies to his journey to becoming a school administrator. Why did you choose UMKC? I was teaching in Chicago when I was recruited by Teach for America to come work in Kansas City. From there I joined Kansas City Plus, which is a two-year principal certification program for educators. They have a partnership with the School of Education, so I was able to apply to the education specialist degree program. Why did you choose your field of study? I got into teaching when I did City Year and Teach for America. Both of those experiences showed me that there are very few Latinx educators in front of black and brown children. Research shows when students have teachers that reflect their identities, they often do better. This motivates me to stay in education. I currently work at Operation Breakthrough as an education manager and lead instructional coach and hope to someday lead a similar organization in the future. "I'm grateful to be a part of so many elite veterans and represent Kansas City." What do you enjoy most about teaching? Inside every person, there is this inner child that we often neglect due to pressures from adulthood and society. As an early childhood educator, I try to tap into that inner child when I engage with children. I enjoy seeing them light up when they learn something new; it's a unique feeling that not many people get to experience. What are the challenges of your career field? I think a challenge for me is trying to advocate for early childhood education when most programs are geared toward K-12. I have to find a way to translate a lot of content through an early childhood lens. Having an undergraduate degree in political science helps me understand the more systemic issues in education like funding, teacher retention, lack of resources, achievement gap, etc. I can understand from a macro level how systemic issues trickle down into the classroom. What are the benefits of the program? I get to influence education for the most underserved children in Kansas City. When campus reopens, I’m looking forward to being in class. Are you a first-generation college student? If so, what does that mean to you? Yes, and I take pride in that because I know my family made a sacrifice to leave their homeland to come here and prosper. My parents were only able to get so far in life because of the lack of resources provided to them; however, I was inculcated with the desire to work hard and be humble, and I can't thank them enough for teaching me those values. Who/What do you admire most at UMKC? The different resources it provides students. It’s a great school that challenges its students. What’s the best piece of advice you have ever received from a professor? This isn’t necessarily a piece of advice, but a quote from one of my professors, Arthur Jacob, that had a profound impact on me: He said, “I do not respect a school that turns children away.” What he was saying is that schools should not pick and choose the children they accept because they want their data to be the best. It made me reconsider my position on charter schools. What about the other children? Where will they go? “Having an undergraduate degree in political science helps me understand the more systemic issues in education.” You were recently awarded the Pat Tillman scholarship for veterans. What does it mean to you to have been one of only 60 students, and the only student from the University of Missouri System, to receive the scholarship? I learned about the scholarship two weeks before the deadline, and it captivated my attention based on the information I had about who Pat Tillman was. Soon after I submitted my application, COVID hit. That gave me a lot of downtime to read more about Pat Tillman and I was amazed. The program supports veterans who are pursuing programs that impact people’s lives. I’m grateful to be a part of so many elite veterans and represent Kansas City. What’s has your class experience been like during the pandemic? It’s impacted my education but not too much. I think it’s been difficult knowing that I am missing out on real dialogue in the classroom. We can still interact on Zoom but, in person, the interaction is more organic. When campus reopens, I’m looking forward to being in class. As an undergraduate, I used to dread going to class but now that it’s online, I realize there’s nothing like having that in-person human connection. How has your work been impacted by COVID? When COVID first happened, we closed for a little while but then we opened back up. We’ve been open since May, but we do our best to adhere to health and safety guidelines. From an administrator’s standpoint, the dilemma of virtual versus classroom learning a hard call to make because you wonder where the kids will go -- their parents need to go to work and the kids need to eat. I trust my school leader, Mary Esselman, and I know she is making the best decisions for everyone. What do you hope to take from your experiences at UMKC into your professional career? I remember when I got to Kansas City, I was perplexed about the segregation that exists here. Living on Troost, a street known to historically be the dividing line between black and white folks over the course of many years, I experience this division daily. Kansas City has been ranked as one of the most racially segregated cities in America and, in some respects, it remains that way. Segregation existed in LA and Chicago, but it wasn’t as obvious as it is in Kansas City. Here, you can cross one street and literally be somewhere else. I hope to use this experience to inform my decisions as a school leader later down the road. Jul 30, 2020

  • UMKC Bloch Student Donates Business Proceeds

    Black Lives Matter movement inspired Harper Zimlich to use her business to spread awareness
    Sophomore Harper Zimlich found a way to use her side hustle as a fundraiser for an organization that is making a difference in her community. Harper Zimlich Zimlich, a business administration major and and Bloch Launchpad student, has been selling baked good since she was in middle school. Her business, Harper’s Homemade, really took off when she began high school. Typically, she runs her business on an order and pick-up basis out of her home, but this summer she began selling at the Topeka Farmer’s Market. Topeka is her hometown. “This was a great way to gain exposure for my business within my community,” Zimlich said. At the June 6 Topeka Farmer’s Market, Zimlich sold sugar cookies and cupcakes as a fundraiser for the YWCA of Northeast Kansas. She donated $363, which was the total sales from that day. Zimlich chose the YWCA because its mission as an organization aligns with her values.  “The organization as a whole works to eliminate racism while empowering young women directly in the Topeka community, which I feel a personal connection to being a female small business owner," she says. "I have been very moved by the Black Lives Matter movement, and I felt the best way I could do my part would be to use my platform to spread awareness. My hopes with this act would be to bring attention to the movement and give others an opportunity to do their part by donating and continue to educate themselves on the matter. I believe small acts within your own community can inspire some of the biggest change!”  Zimlich said running Harper’s Homemade has taught her many valuable skills and has given her a look into what running a business is like. “I figure, by the time I graduate, I can take what I have learned and put it towards my existing business, or pursue a different career that will further develop my skills while still operating Harper’s Homemade as a side hustle.” You can find Harper’s Homemade on Instagram, @harperzhomemade. Orders can be placed through her Instagram account.     Jul 30, 2020

  • Curators Combine Roles of President, Mizzou Chancellor

    Council of Chancellors will represent all four universities
    Mun Choi will serve as both president of the University of Missouri System and Chancellor of the University of Missouri in Columbia, Missouri, under a new system governing structure approved July 28 by the University of Missouri Board of Curators. The Columbia campus is one of four universities that make up the System, along with the University of Missouri-Kansas City, University of Missouri-St. Louis and Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla. The new structure will also include a Council of Chancellors, consisting of the chancellors of all four universities, that will meet monthly to “confer, address mutual challenges and opportunities and exchange information,” according to the board resolution.  “I respect the decision of the Board of Curators and appreciate the fact that they are willing to ask hard questions regarding the governing structure of the University of Missouri System,” said UMKC Chancellor Mauli Agrawal. “It is clear that the board recognizes the lasting significance of any changes to this structure and the potential impacts on each individual campus. Through the ongoing process approved by the board, we must ensure that the entire UM System flourishes and UMKC can thrive and continue to be the vibrant and vital urban resource of teaching, research and service that Kansas City depends on.”  The board also directed the Council of Chancellors to explore the role and services of the UM System, the role of the president, the role of the chancellors and the scope of the Council and how it should function. The council will provide ongoing updates and recommendations to the board within 120 days. Agrawal says he will call on the UMKC community for guidance and input into the questions the board has asked the council to explore. In addition, he looks forward to introducing the two curators who will be appointed as a UMKC-specific advisory committee to the Board of Curators. He wants those two curators to understand the unique needs of UMKC and to hear from a diverse group of campus-specific voices. Julia Brncic, chair of the Board of Curators, said the new governance structure “offers the best way to ensure continued academic and research excellence across the UM System while providing a more cost-effective model during this unprecedented budget crisis and beyond.” “The combined role preserves the strength of our individual universities and will not result in a one-university model,” Brncic said. Jul 29, 2020

  • Biology Student Launches STEMology Podcast

    Alynah Adams created a niche for students pursuing science, technology, engineering and math degrees
      Alynah Adams ‘20 Hometown: Kansas City, Missouri High school: Liberty North High School Degree program: B.S. Biology, minor Chemistry Get to know our people and you’ll know what UMKC is all about. Alynah Adams has explored a few areas that intrigued her academically, but with her interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics – and with her sights set on the medical field – she decided to create a podcast for other students like her. “Science students like to talk science, but there’s not always a space to do that,” says Adams, who is majoring in biology at UMKC. “I was talking about this with some of my friends one day and thought, ‘Someone should start a podcast.’ And then I thought, ‘Why not me?’” Once she had the concept in mind, she started coming up with potential names. Her friends were her focus group. “I sent about 30 friends 10 podcast names,” she says. “Within a day they helped me settle on ‘STEMology: The Young Scientists Survival Guide.’” Adams’ parents had encouraged her to try different things. She played college volleyball in Nebraska for two years before transferring to UMKC. At one point she considered a journalism degree, but her focus kept coming back to a career in the medical field. These two interests peacefully coexist on STEMology. “Science students like to talk science, but there’s not always a space to do that.”-Alynah Adams While her interview subjects have a common interest, their backgrounds and focus are different. “Mostly, I try to choose based on what people are studying in school now and their future plans,” Adams says. “But I reach out to my professional network, too.” Close to home, Adams has interviewed Tammy Welchert, associate teaching professor, director of student affairs and academic advising in the School of Biological and Chemical Sciences, on information high school students should know that will help on the first day of college classes and beyond. In a recent episode, Adams interviewed one of her mentors, David Tung, Ph.D. of BioMed Valley Discoveries, on the importance of developing mentoring relationships. In the interview, Tung outlines elements of a beneficial mentoring relationship that goes beyond a resume entry. He sees a real advantage in making interviews like Adams’ available for interested students. “I was an engineer by training before I went into drug discovery research,” Tung says. “There were a lot of encounters in this vocation that surprised and shocked me. I feel that while everyone is trying to get more minorities and females into the STEM world, no one has actually provided an honest picture of how life is really like.   “I’ve always known what I wanted to do. My compass has always pointed North." - Alynah Adams Having the intellect to survive in this business is only part of the story. Having the aptitude to endure and excel is something that is seldom addressed. In all these conversations, the words 'happiness' and 'fulfillment' were never mentioned. Alynah has always wanted to share her experiences and help others.” Adams worked with Tung on a research project for a family in England who needed information on Sengers Syndrome, a rare mitochondrial autoimmune disorder from which their son was suffering. “Only 44 people in the world have this condition,” Adams says. “I was able to find information on what might help mitigate the symptoms and what won’t. I put it in presentation form and we presented it to the family and their team of medical professionals. It was amazing for me to able to directly affect their lives.” Adams’ parents have encouraged her to explore opportunities in health care that go beyond being a physician. “I’ve thought about being a pharmacist and a few different specialties,” she says. “But it’s always been about health care. I may be an anomaly, but I’ve always known what I wanted to do. My compass has always pointed north." Jul 29, 2020

  • Donor and Student Strike a Chord

    Conservatory donor supports programs and people
    The strongest relationships sometimes build over time. Marylou Turner’s exposure to music began as a child in a small town in Kansas, but she has become a stalwart supporter of the UMKC Conservatory and its students. Turner has been a Conservatory donor and member of the Women’s Committee for the UMKC Conservatory, which supports scholarships, for 27 years. She served as the council’s president for six years, serves on the board of the UMKC Friends of the Conservatory and co-chaired Crescendo, the Conservatory’s largest fundraiser, in 2019. Despite her dedication, her early exposure to music was limited. “I grew up in Albert, Kansas,” Turner says. “I heard music mostly at church and school. It was a rural community so there were lots of opportunities to perform in school and other activities. My teacher was very into music, but not classical. It was during World War II, so we were exposed to hit songs mostly.” Eventually, Turner’s parents bought a piano and she and her sister learned to play. “I played the snare drum and bassoon in high school and the bassoon in college. That was the beginning of my exposure to classical music.” Turner married her late husband, John Turner, who was her high school sweetheart, and they moved to Kansas City after their college graduation. Turner started teaching school and her husband began his work as an interior designer. “There was a salesman at my husband’s office who bought season tickets to everything, but he rarely went. He usually gave them away. We were able to go the symphony and the opera for free.” Turner taught for seven years before returning to school at UMKC to achieve her Master of Arts in Education. She did not return to the classroom, but decided instead to tutor and began dedicated herself to volunteering, primarily in the arts. “I’ve met a lot of wonderful people who I may have never had the opportunity to meet.” One of Turner’s fortuitous meetings was with Conservatory student Chase Shumsky who studied saxophone performance. Shumsky was the recipient of the endowed scholarship that Turner established with her late husband. They were seated next to one another at the annual Conservatory brunch for donors and scholars. “We became acquainted at the brunch, but we’ve met many times,” Turner says. “We talk about his hopes and dreams. I’m always interested in his aspirations.” Shumsky received his news about receiving his scholarship in an email, but he did not anticipate that he would become friends with the donor, who is several decades his senior. “When I first found out I received a scholarship, my reaction was, ‘Where do I sign?’ I overlooked the clause in the contract that outlined the requirement to attend the annual scholarship brunch to meet the person generous enough to support the Conservatory and its students.” “The best part of being Marylou's friend is that she took the time and effort to actually get to know me as a person.”- Chase Shumsky Shumsky admits that while he understood the importance of scholarship funding – he would not have been able to attend the Conservatory without it - he did not understand how significant this relationship would become. Turner attended Shumsky’s solo, quartet and band performances. She had dinner with him and his parents after his senior recital. “The best part of being Marylou's friend is that she took the time and effort to actually get to know me as a person,” Shumsky says. “She is an amazing conversationalist, and for a good amount of time as her scholarship student, I was not. This leads to probably one of my favorite traits about Marylou. She is strong and persistent in the most kind and generous way possible. These traits are present not only in how she developed a meaningful relationship with me but how she fights in the Kansas City community as a supporter for the arts and for arts education.” While Turner enjoys developing these relationships with students, she’s aware that they may not go on to professional careers. She does not see that as failure. “I learned the bassoon, but never played it again after school,” Turner says. “But when I hear or see another musician, I understand the dedication that went into it. Not every student will pursue a lifetime occupation of performance, but the discipline and work ethic benefit them in other areas.” “I enjoy talking to people about giving. I couldn’t ask for myself, but I can ask for a cause that I believe in and I enjoy encouraging others to contribute.”-Marylou Turner Turner’s perspective, experience and financial support have been a constant pillar of support to the Conservatory’s endeavors. “I love raising money!” she says. “I enjoy talking to people about giving. I couldn’t ask for myself, but I can ask for a cause that I believe in and I enjoy encouraging others to contribute.” Diane Petrella, dean of the UMKC Conservatory, appreciates and applauds Turner’s commitment. “Marylou is one of our most passionate and dedicated patrons,” Diane Petrella, dean of the UMKC Conservatory says. “She is a force to be reckoned with in every sense. She leads by example, holds everyone to the same high standards she exhibits and her steadfast commitment to the organizations in which she serves is profound. In every situation, from chairing Crescendo to tracking the scholarship funds for the Women’s Committee, Marylou’s attention to detail, perseverance, intellect, and humor inspire us all to give more of our time, talents and resources. She has made a tremendous impact on the Conservatory and its students, and we look forward to our continued collaboration.” Turner has no intention of slowing down. Even the COVID-19 outbreak has not kept her from her passion. “The arts have a special place that is very important to me. Of course, I’ve stayed involved in my volunteer work.” Lifetime of Leading the Arts Marylou Turner has dedicated her time, energy and resources to the arts for nearly 50 years. Her contribution to the UMKC Conservatory as a leader, donor and friend is exemplary. Member of the Women’s Committee since 1993 Instituted the Women’s Committee endowed scholarship program, which is responsible for 23 endowed scholarships valued at over $1.4 million Serves as a board member of the UMKC Friends of the Conservatory, and is a member of the 20/20 Scholarship campaign which has raised over $900,000 toward 20 new scholarships   Jul 29, 2020

  • New Ensemble Caters to Marginalized Communities

    UMKC Conservatory grad, UMKC Bloch student featured by KC Studio
      “Music changed my life in positive ways only. And I wanted to be able to provide that while also significantly offering help,” said founder and artistic director Flor Lizbeth Cruz Longoria. Cruz, a flutist. She graduated with a master’s degree from the UMKC Conservatory in May and is completing a graduate certificate in nonprofit management and innovation from the UMKC Henry W. Bloch School of Management. Read the full article. Jul 28, 2020
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  • Student Emergency Fund Assists Nearly 100 Students

    Yahoo News picked up KSHB story about emergency funding for students
      “We created this emergency fund back when we went into quarantine,” said Logan P. Cheney, director of Annual Giving for the UMKC Foundation. “Students could apply for it to pay their bills, to help pay for rent. If a lot of students had to basically up and leave their apartment or quit their job, this was a way to help kids out.” Check out the KSHB story that was picked up by Yahoo News. Jul 27, 2020

  • Bringing An Artist’s Spirituality to the Practice of Medicine

    Bill Tammeus, Flatland KC, calls Nancy Tilson-Mallett a rare combination - a physician and an artist
      In science classes, Nancy Tilson-Mallett, M.D., says students are taught “that there’s got to be a right answer. In art class, I teach them that sometimes there are right answers but there are also shades of gray and ambiguity.” Tilson-Mallett has been teaching a class at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine called “Medicine and Art.” Read more. Jul 26, 2020

  • UMKC Extends Operations of BkMk Press

    Publisher will complete literary projects that are in progress
    The University of Missouri-Kansas City will extend operations of its publishing house, BkMk Press, in order to complete literary projects that are in progress. Kati Toivanen, interim dean of the UMKC College of Arts and Sciences, said the extension has been funded by donors for a limited time that will will allow BkMk to publish these works in the professional quality the press is known for. “This will also give us additional time to seek another home for the press or to identify a more self-sustaining funding structure,” Toivanen said. “Published literary works contribute to our culture, expand our understanding of the world and enrich our lives. We welcome any support, ideas and partnerships that would allow the tradition of this distinguished press to continue.” Public higher education has been facing budget constraints in recent years that have been further challenged by the coronavirus pandemic. These pressures compelled UMKC to reduce funding for the literary entity that includes both BkMk Press and New Letters magazine, in order to focus available resources on academic programs and student success services. New Letters will continue its operations and will be run out of the Department of English with faculty leadership and student support. Jul 24, 2020
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  • UMKC Center for Neighborhoods Launches New Website to Address Digital Equity in Kansas City

    Provides access for organizations that cannot afford web design, hosting
    The Center for Neighborhoods at the University of Missouri-Kansas City has launched a new website designed to highlight the work of Kansas City, Missouri, neighborhoods and to address the issue of digital equity. The Center for Neighborhoods is housed in the Department of Architecture, Urban Planning + Design, part of the UMKC College of Arts and Sciences. Director Dina Newman said many urban neighborhoods, with volunteer leaders and limited financial capital, are impacted by unequal access to information, connectivity and data. Too often, they must endure the racial and economic disparities associated with the “digital divide.” The new website, cfn.medyumyasemen.com, provides an interactive digital resource hub for Kansas City neighborhoods. This platform features up-to-date contact information and meeting times for neighborhood organizations and HOAs (homeowners’ associations) that have participated in the center’s 12-week Neighborhood Leadership Training session since 2016. Additional features include a calendar of events, critical information from partner organizations including pertinent information from City Hall, the popular weekly update “News You Can Use” and a short film from the Center for Neighborhoods’ First State of the Neighborhood Address. Newman said the website provides access and a platform for those organizations that might not be able to afford the fees associated with web design, hosting and maintenance. “The website creates an opportunity for Center for Neighborhoods to expand socially in our increasingly digital world,” Newman said. “These mediums are a tool for people and organizations to connect with each other and share valuable information to those who need it the most.” As a follow-up step, the Center for Neighborhoods plans to take a more expansive role in popular social media platforms. “Our goal is lifting up the communities we serve.” Jul 24, 2020
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  • Brandon Martin to Co-Chair New Alliance

    Kansas City Star, CBS Sports reports on Black AD Alliance
    The Black AD Alliance includes 16 Black athletic directors in Division I, which includes Kansas City Athletics Director Brandon Martin as co-chair. Read the full KC Star article. Read CBS Sports. Jul 24, 2020

  • BioNexus KC Awards UMKC Researcher

    Kansas City Business Journal covers research grants
    Timothy Cox, Endowed Professor in Musculoskeletal Tissues at the UMKC School of Dentistry, is studying genetic differences in embryonic facial tissue to see how they affect the development of cleft lip and cleft palate. It is among the most common birth defects, affecting one in 700 live births globally. Read more. Jul 24, 2020

  • UMKC Student Volunteers Step Up to Help With COVID-19 Testing

    More than 80 students helped the Kansas City Health Department in providing COVID-19 tests
    Earlier this spring, the Kansas City Missouri Health Department received federal funding to provide COVID-19 testing. What the department lacked was the manpower to support the many testing sites across the city. It didn’t take long for the UMKC Health Sciences Campus to fill the void. More than 80 students from the schools of dentistry, medicine and pharmacy answered the call for helpers. In May and June, they volunteered 28 three-hour blocks of time at 18 testing locations through the greater Kansas City area. Many of those were at schools and churches. “This is a great example of a long-running collaboration with the health department,” said Jannette Berkley-Patton, Ph.D., director of the Health Equity Institute. “Especially since our students could help expand their capacity to conduct testing in communities hard hit by COVID-19.” Stefanie Ellison, M.D., associate dean for learning initiatives at the School of Medicine, said students across the campus were eager to help. “In 24 hours, I gave a group of students the chance to communicate the need across social media sites and get the word out,” Ellison said. “They stepped up to fill in the volunteer spots.” The testing was offered at federally qualified health centers such as the KC Care Clinic, Swope Health and the Samuel Rogers Health Center. Carole Bowe Thompson, project director for the Health Equity Institute, helped organize the volunteer efforts. While workers at the testing centers did the actual COVID-19 testing, Thompson said the students worked in a supporting role, handling patient check-in and registration, providing patient education, labeling and securing specimen tubes and even directing car and walk up traffic up to the test sites. “They did the pre-screening, going over COVID-19 symptoms and collecting health and other important intake information,” Thompson said. “The testing centers didn’t have the support they needed for taking care of traffic. They needed the students to help direct traffic.” Many of the students said the experience helped them realize the importance of working with other health care providers and how community outreach can play a large role in public health. “I learned that I am in a prime position to assist those in need,” said Rico Beuford, a sixth-year medical student. “I don't necessarily need a medical degree to open up access to health care resources to vulnerable communities. I think it's important for each us to realize how much we can impact those who are on the periphery of society and that are largely neglected by it.” Sixth-year med student Emma Connelly was one of those who helped with the screening process, taking basic patient information and asking those being tested if they had experienced symptoms or been exposed to anyone with the coronavirus. “Being a medical student, I am not technically on the front lines, so I thought this would be a small way to help out,” Connelly said. “I felt that it was important to help out no matter how small the task was. And if I could help prevent at least one COVID-19 positive individual from spreading it to their family or friends, it was totally worth the effort.” Ellison said students found a wide variety of other ways to help those in need as well. Some spent time simply talking online with senior center residents to keep them company and help them feel less isolated. Students volunteered to tutor and check on grade school students who were suddenly faced with online school while their parents had to work. Others found their green thumbs to help with gardening, harvesting and distributing produce, while some provided babysitting for health care workers. “I am so overwhelmed by our students’ efforts to help out,” Ellison said. Thompson said she hoped the volunteer efforts would continue through the summer and pick up steam when students returned to campus for the fall semester. “There will be plenty more opportunities,” she said. “The health department is not going to stop doing testing.” Jul 23, 2020
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  • Law Librarian Named Unsung Legal Hero

    Missouri Lawyers Media recognizes Ayyoub Ajmi
    Ayyoub Ajmi, associate director of the Leon E. Bloch Law Library and director of Digital Communications and Learning Initiatives at the UMKC School of Law, was named a 2020 Unsung Legal Hero in Information Technology. Jul 23, 2020

  • What Are You Most Excited About in Returning to Campus?

    Roos share what they’re looking forward to this fall
    It’s definitely been a minute since most of us have visited campus in person. Come August, it will have been five months ‑ nearly half a year! Yes, the world has changed, and classrooms will be modified so we can safely maintain social distancing. While the physical space will be a little different, it’s our campus community that we’re most excited to see. We talked to a few Roos about what they’ve been anticipating the most this fall. 1. Week of Welcome “Not just for incoming students or current students, but EVERYONE! I think we all have shared this difficult time together and no matter what this fall looks like, it’s going to be great to welcome everyone back to the new school year.” -Hope Romero, music therapy ’ 21 2. Helping others “I want to help other students, whether it’s by giving tours or with classwork. Since all of this (the pandemic) started, my professors have been super helpful to me.” -Hannah Shackles, communications ’ 21 3. Familiarity “I'm coming back home, back to a daily routine, to see the faces of my friends and professors and just walk on campus again like I used to!” -Jose Mendoza, vocal performance and composition ’23 4. Student organizations “I’m definitely looking forward to getting more involved with my organizations and my senior year.” -Krithika Selvarajoo, chemistry and English ‘21 5. Theatre “It’s hard to do theatre online. Yes, in my theater classes, we’ll have to wear masks like everyone else does. This time away has made me realize how social my job is and how social the field I’m going into is.” -Michelle Lawson, theatre and history ’ 21 Jul 22, 2020
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  • 5 Ways to Get Your Kids to Wear Masks

    CNN interviewed School of Medicine assistant professor of pediatrics
    Gail Robertson provided tips for parents. Read more.   Jul 22, 2020

  • Conservatory Finds Ideal Leader

    Diane Petrella was interviewed by The Independent on going from interim dean to full-time dean
      Paul Horsley talked to Diane Helfers Petrella, the first woman to head the UMKC Conservatory in its 110-year history. Read the full article.   Jul 22, 2020
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  • Alumnus Reflects on His Super Bowl Experience

    Steven St. John shares some of his favorite moments from SBLIV
    Steven St. John (B.A. ’96) has been a fixture on the Kansas City sports scene since 1999 and a lifelong Chiefs fan. As host of the popular sports morning show “Border Patrol” on 810 WHB, he was in Miami, Florida, covering Super Bowl LIV and celebrating KC’s win in person. He recently shared some of his favorite moments with us and how things have changed since February. What was your most memorable moment from the Super Bowl? Wow. Such a tough question to answer. Waking into the stadium, realizing that I was actually at the Super Bowl and the Chiefs were playing in the game. That was mind-blowing. I loved watching the Chiefs run out of the tunnel during the pre-game festivities. That was so cool.  Also, screaming at Goldie Hawn to the point she was visibly startled. (I meant Goldie no harm. You see, I’m a Goldie Hawn fan, so when I saw her, I naturally screamed “Goldie!” Sometimes I forget the power of my booming voice and the sheer volume of my cry clearly caught Goldie off guard.) All of these are wonderful memories. But, nothing compares to the moment when Damien Williams scampered into the end zone and secured the biggest Chiefs victory of my life. I still get chills when I relive that moment in my mind. What did you think of the halftime show? I thought the halftime show was wonderful. Jennifer Lopez and Shakira are two of the most electric live performers in the world and they were on stage together! It was such an exciting experience to be inside the stadium while they shared the stage. The lights, colors, music, sounds and emotion all overwhelmed my senses. It really was a magical experience. And, when you mixed in the tremendous anticipation for the 2nd half of Super Bowl LIV, it was a perfect recipe for one of the most enjoyable nights of my life. Steven St. John, left, interviewing during 810WHB's Super Bowl coverage in Miami. What are your predictions for the next season? The Chiefs will repeat as Super Bowl champions and Patrick Mahomes will win another Super Bowl MVP. Biggest play of the game? Jet. Chip. Wasp. That is all. Under the radar MVP? Most people will say Damien Williams or Chris Jones. But, I will say me. I absolutely deserve some type of award for successfully composing myself in time to conduct post-game player interviews just minutes after watching my beloved Chiefs win their first Super Bowl of my lifetime. I wept quietly on my way down to the locker room, thinking about all the past heartbreak in the life of a Chiefs fan. They were some of the happiest tears I’ve ever cried. "I absolutely deserve some type of award for successfully composing myself in time to conduct post-game player interviews just minutes after watching my beloved Chiefs win their first Super Bowl of my lifetime."—Steven St. John, B.A. '96 How do you feel about the Patrick Mahomes contract?  He's worth every penny and more. Imagine if I would have told you a few years ago that the Chiefs were finally going to draft a QB in the first round. And, that QB would win the NFL MVP in his second season. Then, in his third season, he'd win the Super Bowl MVP and lead the Chiefs to their first championship in 50 years. 50 years! And, along the way, he'd become KC's most beloved athlete because he was as great off the field as he was on the field. He'd be involved in the community to a level that helped him develop an unparalleled connection with the city. And, he'd also become the best player in the NFL, the face of the league and one of the most recognizable and respected sports figures in the world. And, all the while, he'd continue to represent KC and spread unadulterated joy throughout the city, at a time when it was desperately needed. In other words, I think it was a good deal.  What do you think about the plans for the upcoming season amid COVID-19? Along with everyone else, I really don't know what's going to happen. Things are far too unpredictable to make any type of educated prediction and feel confident about it. I'm cautiously optimistic, but I've learned to brace for the worst and hope for the best. But, if any league can make it happen, it’s the NFL.  How has the pandemic affected the way you work? I've been very lucky to be able to work from home. I've broadcast my show from my house the last few months and that's worked well for me. I have a heart condition that I need to protect, so working from home has allowed me to take a cautious approach while trying to keep my family healthy. And, when we do leave the house, we've done our best to wear masks and practice social distancing.  Jul 21, 2020
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  • Making Data Science Relevant to Society

    Interdisciplinary UMKC faculty influence a new storytelling approach to teaching the subject
    Data science education is challenged with attracting minority students from various socio-economic backgrounds. However, recent advances in artificial intelligence and deep learning create an urgent need for a qualified data science workforce that can perform critical functions in a variety of domains and aspects of human society from journalism to health communication to advertising to educational resources for underserved populations. Enter the Open Collaborative Experiential Learning in Artificial Intelligence (OCEL.AI) project with a unique solution to address this need. “We’re trying to change the reality and culture of data science education.” - Yugi Lee, computer science professor, School of Computing and Engineering   Led by a multi-disciplinary team of faculty at the University of Missouri-Kansas City – Yugyung (Yugi) Lee, professor of computer science; Ye Wang, associate professor of communication studies; and Alexis Petri, senior director of faculty support – OCEL.AI received a $350,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to make data science more relevant to minority students. The OCEL.AI project is an open knowledge network and collaborative partnership with the University of Florida, Eastern Michigan University and Essex County College that supports postsecondary instructors who teach underserved populations (Data Science) + Journalism and strategic communications within their existing institutional structures. This storytelling approach maps a story onto data to transform artificial intelligence models and then extracts knowledge that can help solve societal issues. The group expects to see increased interest, self-efficacy and motivation in studying data science among both computer science and non-computer science majors – particularly female, Black and Hispanic students. “Most computer scientists like to dive right into data to solve problems without thinking about the stories behind the data, so this project is a transformative approach to teaching the subject,” said Lee, who serves as the principal investigator for OCEL.AI. “We’re trying to change the reality and culture of data science education.” Storytelling is used to create cases – personas if used in marketing, also called user stories in data science – that guide users through the process of machine learning. Wang said each user story contains the core fundamentals of storytelling taught in communications studies: who, what, when, where, why and how. “We’re taking a ‘so what?’ approach to big data. What problems can we observe? How does this change a user’s life?” Wang said. The machine-learning experience is guided by theoretical frameworks – also called the use cases –  so rather than taking the traditional approach to machine learning to build models, Wang is helping teach computer science students the fundamentals of journalism to determine which data helps tell a story. Students can then input that data in machine learning applications, which also helps ensure outcomes are fair and unbiased because developers are no longer applying a singular context – typically the majority – in machine learning. Groups from each of the partnering universities are currently working to test this model on sample stories to answer unique questions like “where can I buy a used car as a college freshman?” or “the community economic approach to COVID-19.” Computer science students from UMKC recently participated in a Hack-A-Thon and applied use cases to develop a mobile application to help parents find after school learning resources in Kansas City, based on budget, student gender, age and transportation needs. The storytelling approach has inspired students and faculty from the four partnering universities to learn more about data science’s role in society. OCEL.AI will host a virtual workshop in August and invite faculty and students to learn about this new teaching approach and how to apply it and plans to invite student participants to try it in upcoming projects. Petri is working with Lee and Wang to develop a new curriculum for teachers to implement this model into their courses. Petri will also conduct a user study to help inform improvements to the new model. “When you’re trying to implement a new learning model, you don’t always get it right the first time,”  Lee said. Jul 21, 2020

  • Disaster Informatics to the Rescue

    Harnessing the power of AI to aid disaster relief
    Imagine you’re receiving multiple calls about dangerous levels of floodwater damage, and your job is to prioritize relief efforts. Now imagine you have a statistical map telling you exactly where the damage will be worst. Creating solutions for real-world disaster-relief situations is the primary focus of the research of ZhiQiang Chen, Ph.D., associate professor of civil and mechanical engineering. Chen is part of a growing field of research that he refers to as “disaster informatics.” That is, harnessing the power of cuttingedge technology and using it to respond to natural disasters. His research is part of a much larger collaboration between several entities, including the NASA Jet Propulsion Lab, University of Indiana, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, ImageCat in California and Pacific Disaster Center in Hawaii. Chen’s piece of the puzzle has to do with artificial intelligence (AI)-based computing of remote sensing data for global flood-hazard monitoring and damage assessment. His ultimate goal is to develop a program that automatically creates 3D renderings that clearly show damage and provide decision-makers with stats about damage levels in real time. “When I first started this research, it was a very small field,” Chen says. “However, the increased frequency and severity of natural disasters is attracting more people to this field.” Currently, images of disaster areas are typically taken by satellite, but Chen imagines drones being used more regularly. In theory, a drone could fly over a damaged area, collect an image and either process the image with an edge computing system or send the data to a ground center to be processed. Then a 3D rendering would be sent directly to first responders to help them quickly prioritize areas with the greatest damage. Chen’s first opportunity to test his research’s potential was in the aftermath of the 2019 tornado in Jefferson City, Missouri, through support from the Structural Extreme Events Reconnaissance (StEER) program of the National Science Foundation. In the days following the tornado, he and his team flew a drone over an apartment complex to collect images of the damage. He then processed the data and produced two images: one was an orthomosaic image — stitched together from multiple images — and the other was a digital surface model, showing the volume change of each structure. These final products were then fed to an AI-based model to determine the extent of the damage to each of the buildings in the apartment complex. In Jefferson City, Chen used only one drone, but during the 2017 total solar eclipse, he was able to test the use of multiple drones. Local law enforcement officers and emergency responders in St. Joseph, Missouri, had expressed concern over traffic congestion. With a group of about 20 residents and a total of 10 drones, Chen and his team collected images and funneled them to a single location for processing. Local officials received the final outputs on iPads and used the images to assess traffic throughout the day. “With this experience, we confirmed the notion of community-based, connected remote sensing where citizen scientists can participate in disaster response and provide key input to first responders,” he says. "When I first started this research, it was a very small field. However, the increased frequency and severity of natural disasters is attracting more people to this field." — Zhiqiang Chen, Ph.D. While it is exciting to see the potential of Chen’s research, there is one major obstacle to overcome. Aviation regulations require approval to fly in order to maintain safe and open airspaces for other aircraft like medical helicopters. Currently, there are not many ways for helicopters and other aircraft to identify a flying drone in their airspace. The new Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Remote Identification Program may soon resolve this issue, opening up the civilian market for use in projects like this. Another equally important challenge is the nature of disaster response in general. With so many social factors at work, the application may not be straightforward. Chen stated that at a certain point this research will have to become interdisciplinary in order to study social implications and how they affect implementation. “For me, the greatest success would be to see my research being used to make a difference and help people when they need it most,” Chen says. “The possibility that my research could someday become a regular part of disaster relief is what fuels my passion for this work.” Jul 20, 2020
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  • Student Emergency Fund Success

    Support for emergency funding keeps more than 90 students afloat
    As the UMKC community began to feel the impact of COVID-19, individual donations to the Student Emergency Fund made a significant difference for students in need. From fellow students who started crowdfunding projects, to staff members and community donors, UMKC supporters contributed over $70,000 to the UMKC Student Emergency Fund to help students not only stay in school, but pay for housing, food, utilities and other emergency needs. “We recognize that the effects of COVID-19 are not only physical, but economic. We are grateful to those who were able to step up and lend a hand.” - Jenny Lundgren “Based on the demand, we were relieved to be able to provide critical assistance to our students in need,” said UMKC Provost Jenny Lundgren. “We recognize that the effects of COVID-19 are not only physical, but economic. We are grateful to those who were able to step up and lend a hand.” Victor is studying electrical and computer engineering. He believes having a college degree will provide a solid foundation for him to build a successful career. Emergency aid kept him on track for completing the academic year and building a brighter future.  “With this act of kindness, I am one step closer in achieving my educational and career goals,” he said. “I plan to always give back to the community as a professional and successful engineer.” Some students faced broader challenges than solely their academic ones. Denise is raising her children alone while pursuing her graduate degree. “I had fallen behind on everything,” she said. “I am ever grateful for the blessing that you have bestowed on me.” "We are grateful for those donors who support this fund at every level." - Lisa Baronio While the current crisis will eventually pass, the need for emergency funds will always exist. UMKC Foundation President Lisa Baronio is confident that the community will continue to support students on their paths to graduation. “We always make the distinction that our donors are supporting people who are working to improve their lives and our communities as a whole,” Baronio says. “But these emergency funds are critical to keeping students in school, and we will always have students for whom relatively small amounts can make the difference between graduating and not being able to continue their education due to small financial constraints. We are grateful for those donors who support this fund at every level.” Jul 16, 2020

  • Upgrading Auto-pilot to Save-a-Pilot

    Researcher looks to computer modeling to enhance aviation safety
    Assistant professor Mujahid Abdulrahim’s passion for flying once led him to devise a way to commute to work in his personal plane. That passion also drives his research on helping pilots and passengers get home safely. Modeling the movements of aircraft is the backbone of his research at the UMKC School of Computing and Engineering. Abdulrahim’s specialty is in autonomous aircraft development, but he stresses that autonomy isn’t just drones – it is everywhere in aviation. He wants to take auto-pilot functionality to a new level, not to take flying away from pilots, but to make their safety net stronger.  “I don’t want to replace pilots with computers,” Abdulrahim says. “I love the idea of preserving everything that makes airplanes fun to fly, but I also love the idea of coming home to my children after every time I take to the air.“ A self-described “air safety geek,” Abdulrahim is working on a computer algorithm that would interpret the equations of motion for each individual aircraft with predetermined models on how it should be performing. At any given time, moving the elevator stick of an airplane results in a specific response, and this technology would try to determine whether the flight matched the expected motion for that specific aircraft. He’s also interested in the human element of these models. That’s why he’s looking to study how pilots learn and how they react to certain aviation situations. He’s especially interested in studying how pilots react when they’re at the edges of the flight envelope – the term “pushing the envelope” comes from testing the operating limits of an aircraft. Abdulrahim’s goal is to incorporate pilot behavior into these models, to help indicate when the pilot could use assistance. He compares this supervisory system to lane-change warnings in modern automobiles: to detect an irregular driving pattern and let the driver know. One area that will play a big part in this supervisory system is something called “task saturation.” According to Abdulrahim, it’s a concept that’s not limited to pilots. “If you’re taking notes and someone asks you to solve a math question while also jumping on one foot and reciting the alphabet – you’ll eventually hit your task saturation point,” he says. “From there you’ll stop receiving inputs and only focus on one thing at a time, and you probably aren’t going to do that one thing very well.” In aviation, this can happen to any size of aircraft, but is more common when pilots of small airplanes fly into bad weather. For example, a pilot can be talking to air traffic control while scanning for other aircraft, with limited visibility and high winds affecting air speed – suddenly that pilot has hit saturation. With Abdulrahim’s supervisory system, a model can be built to monitor the flying skills a pilot shows as they fly – how well they hold airspeed, how well they hold altitude. If those skills suddenly take a turn for the worse, the system can intervene to improve safety. Abdulrahim sees far-reaching potential for his modeling technology. He’s looking at replacing or enhancing aircrafts’ airspeed sensor – the only aircraft sensor exposed to the elements and thus more susceptible to being corrupted mid-flight. There are also ridesharing companies looking at autonomous aviation as the future of people transport. Abdulrahim is looking at how his models could help make that a reality. His passion for flying will continue to drive his research into safer skies so everyone in flight – pilot and passenger – can keep coming home to their families. Jul 16, 2020
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  • Economics Professor Writes Opinion Piece

    The Kansas City Star publishes an article by Linwood Tauheed
    Linwood Tauheed, UMKC associate professor of economics, recently had an article about policing published by The Kansas City Star. Jul 16, 2020

  • UMKC Health Equity Institute Works to Halt COVID-19 Pandemic in KC

    Charlie Keegan, KSHB, talked to Jannette Berkley-Patton and volunteers at a drive-thru COVID-19 testing site
    The UMKC Health Equity Institute facilitated volunteer efforts at a recent drive-thru COVID-19 testing site. The institute is a group, which was formed four years ago, focused on identifying health care problems and offering solutions led by Jannette Berkley-Patton, Ph.D.. Read Keegan's story about the testing site and the Health Equity Institute. Jul 16, 2020
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  • PPE Sold in Campus Vending Machines

    Local media cover safety measures taken at UMKC.
      UMKC students, faculty and staff will be able to purchase personal protective equipment in campus vending machines this fall. Local media outlets talked to UMKC administrators about the offerings. Read more from KSHB.   Jul 15, 2020

  • What Does Defund the Police Mean?

    UMKC Professor of Criminal Justice and Criminology Ken Novak provides insight to The Beacon
      In addition to violent crime, police officers are often the first responders to nonviolent incidents, like individuals experiencing a mental health crisis. Ken Novak, UMKC professor of criminal justice and criminology, was recently asked by The Beacon if police officers are in the best position to respond to somebody who's having a mental health crisis. Jul 15, 2020

  • UMKC Nursing and Health Studies Accredited for Another Decade

    The nursing school's programs continue to meet or exceed national standards.
    The UMKC School of Nursing and Health Studies’ national accreditation has been renewed for 10 years, through June 2029. Joy Roberts, interim dean, said, "This full accreditation means that the school’s BSN, MSN, DNP and post-MSN certificate programs meet or exceed standards accepted by nursing education programs throughout the country. This gold standard of approval indicates the high quality of our nursing education." The school received the good news from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, a national accreditation agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. The commission reviews undergraduate, graduate and residency programs in nursing under a voluntary, self-regulatory peer review. Jul 14, 2020
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  • UMKC Statement on International Student Visa Issue

    Statement from University of Missouri-Kansas City Chancellor Mauli Agrawal and Provost Jenny Lundgren
    International students have long been an integral part of our campus community. They teach as well as learn, sharing information about their home countries and their cultural traditions. We welcome today’s news that puts their fears about visa issues and online courses to rest and look forward to continuing this rich and rewarding shared experience when we return to campus in August. Jul 14, 2020

  • Safety Modifications for Classrooms and Offices

    Shields and rearranged furniture are among the changes
    No surprise, but classrooms and offices will look slightly different this fall due to safety precautions because of the COVID-19 pandemic. We talked to Michael Graves, director of UMKC facilities operations, to find out about building modifications for in-person interactions. "We're following CDC guidelines to help keep our students, faculty and staff safe," Graves said. Classroom modifications Following those guidelines, UMKC is using 25 percent capacity in classroom spaces. To accomplish this, Graves' teams are moving furniture and taping off seats in auditoriums. “The goal is for each student to have a 6-foot perimeter,” Graves said. Faculty instructors in lecture spaces can wear clear face shields — vs. cloth masks — to promote more accessible learning. The transparent plastic material allows others to read lips and facial expressions more easily. Desk shields A desk at the School of Dentistry will have a shield to provide a barrier between patients and employees. For extra safeguarding on the Health Sciences and Volker campuses, front desks and counters that don’t provide enough physical distancing will have plexi shields. If you’ve been to the grocery store recently, you’ve probably seen shields in the checkout aisle as a barrier between cashiers and customers. Office precautions Departments throughout UMKC are making sure staff are sufficiently distanced from others. For example, Graves' team is building clear desk shields in between cubicles that are not 6 feet from others. Common spaces Floor markers are being added to areas where lines form to help remind everyone to keep a 6-foot distance from others. And seating is being separated 6 feet away from other seating. Jul 13, 2020

  • Asthma Sufferers May Breathe Easier

    UMKC researchers are working on the technology behind a noninvasive device that would monitor for symptoms
    Professor Masud Chowdhury, Ph.D., and his postdoctoral fellow, Mahrukh Khan, Ph.D., are in the beginning phases of developing a new approach that would detect the severity of asthma at different stages without subjecting patients to invasive measures. Their work is somewhat personal. Chowdhury has a child with asthma and has experienced the anxiety of identifying and treating asthma attacks. Khan went through the difficulty of trying to diagnose a young child with a persistent cough. “My son suffered from the time he was a year old until he was four. My daughter, who is five years old, had to go to the emergency room twice last year,” Chowdhury says. “Now I know firsthand the severity of the condition. We carry two types of nebulizers.” Khan has experienced similar challenges. “My daughter was having problems breathing when she was very young,” Khan says. “Her daycare teacher mentioned that asthma was very common here in Kansas City and that may be the cause. It was so alarming for me. I did a lot of research.” Asthma is a chronic condition that inflames and narrows the airways of the lungs. This narrowing creates symptoms such as shortness of breath, a persistent cough and a feeling of tightness in the chest. Some people can easily manage their asthma, but it can be extremely serious for others. Every day ten Americans die from asthma, and many of these deaths are preventable with treatment. Adults generally monitor their own breathing, and when situations escalate can use a nebulizer — or inhaler — to deliver medication directly to the lungs. Monitoring children with asthma can be a particularly stressful responsibility, as children don’t always recognize symptoms until they escalate. “This can be a big hurdle in monitoring, because parents cannot always determine if children need to be taken to the hospital or treated,” Khan says. “If we develop a low-profile wireless monitoring device, we can improve the accuracy of monitoring and help parents and other caregivers make better decisions.” Currently, people with asthma monitor symptoms with a peak flow meter. The device looks like a kazoo, with a gauge that measures how well air is flowing. To achieve an accurate reading, the patient needs to close their lips tightly around the mouthpiece, keep their tongue away from the opening and blow as hard as possible. That physical maneuvering is often difficult with young children and older adults. Detection of an impending attack can be tricky — sometimes even for doctors. A wireless system could relieve the asthma sufferer and their caregivers from being in a constant state of alert. It could also send notifications to patients, caregivers and health- care providers in real time. “If a child or older person is having an asthma attack away from caregivers, we can integrate a warning system they can use within the monitor,” Chowdhury says. “It could be programmed to notify the doctor and the family if the patient is unable to respond.” The research is focused on detecting the concentration of mucus and water content in the lungs and bronchial system. To make the system effective, Khan and Chowdhury would need to expose the device to existing information so it can “learn.” “We would have to train the system with microwave images of healthy lungs and bronchial systems and then images of different levels of asthma so that it can recognize the severity of the condition,” Chowdhury says. This data collection may not be as far-fetched as it seems. The technology has been in use in the medical field for years and is currently in place for monitoring blood glucose without collecting blood samples through needle pricks. Kahn is also developing electromagnetic wave-based technology that can be used for detection of breast cancer. The doctors view this as a long-term project because of the prototype development. The initial phase — collecting data, testing information-gathering methods and developing and testing the resulting device — will take a few years, but Kahn and Chowdhury are dedicated to its completion, both professionally and personally. “When you witness an asthma attack firsthand, it’s very scary — especially if it’s a young child,” Chowdhury says. “We are hoping to use this evolving technology to identify reliable early detection so patients can receive early and effective treatment. This will provide peace of mind for asthma sufferers and their caregivers.” Jul 13, 2020
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  • The Future of Stormwater Management Runs Through Kansas City

    UMKC School of Computing and Engineering Professor John Kevern tells Medium about his stormwater research
    John Kevern, a professor of civil engineering at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, is the inaugural director of the new Center for Urban Stormwater Research. The center is a research consortium focused on tackling urban flooding in Kansas City. Read the full article in Medium.     Jul 13, 2020

  • School of Medicine Dean Answers Coronavirus Questions

    Mary Anne Jackson was a guest on KCUR's Up to Date
    Mary Anne Jackson, M.D., has been providing expert advice on coronavirus and COVID-19. Most recently, Jackson participated in a Q&A session with KCUR. You can listen to the full interview on KCUR. Jul 10, 2020

  • UMKC Institute for Data Education, Analytics and Science Results Featured by Local Media

    The Kansas City Star, KMBC, The Pitch produced stories about the data analysis conducted by the new institute
    The coordinator of the new institute, Brent Never, associate professor at the Henry W. Bloch School of Management, conducted an analysis of the recipients of the Paycheck Protection Program loans tied to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Read more from The Kansas City Star, KMBC and The Pitch. Jul 10, 2020

  • Recent Grad Helps Mayor Engage Latinx Community

    Aly Hernandez's background sparked her passion for public service
    Prior to joining Kansas City, Missouri, Mayor Quinton Lucas’ office, UMKC Honors College graduate Aly Hernandez (B.A. ’19) worked on his election campaign as well as efforts for U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II and the Jorge Flores campaign for Wyandotte County Commissioner. Aly Hernandez(B.A. '19 with University Honors) Now, as external affairs manager, she is helping connect Mayor Lucas with the Latino community. “Aly is a vital member of the Mayor’s Office, bringing to work each day her creative ideas, passion for change and positive mentality. Never does Aly forget why she chose a career in public service—which is to increase opportunities for the community she’s from. Aly has been an important liaison between my office and the Latinx community throughout Kansas City, especially during this uncertain period of COVID-19, and we appreciate her tremendously,” said Mayor Quinton Lucas. We spoke with Hernandez recently about her role in city government, her love of learning new languages, and what fuels her passion. Tell us about your role in Mayor Lucas’ office. I assist the Mayor by providing recommendations for city boards and commissions, brief him on current events and information prior to events and meetings, create social media posts and act as our onsite field coordinator for various community and office events. Recently, I began acting as our communications liaison with local Spanish media and have translated various interviews, speeches, and statements for Mayor Lucas. How do you keep the Latinx community engaged with the Mayor and vice versa? COVID-19 is a great example of how we have kept our community engaged with the Mayor and vice versa. Our office has continued to provide Spanish language translations for our Spanish-speaking community almost immediately as it has been shared. We’ve kept a weekly Spanish radio spot and have been increasing Spanish interviews for the Mayor. I’ve also increased the number of Latino community events he attends and panels and townhalls he participates in. What is VozKC? Why is it important? I am a member and co-founder of the organization Voz Kansas City. We are a new Latinx Organization advocating for and advancing the role the Latinx community plays in the community and within politics. Our goal is to support political candidates whose interests align with ours and increase the number of Latinx candidates in our elections. We also support equity education initiatives and are heavily focused on the immigration debate in our country.  VozKC is important because the Latinx community is the largest growing electorate, meaning that our voting potential and voting power will continue to grow in the years to come. Thus, it is crucial to have organizations like VozKC to work on Get Out The Vote campaigns and be involved in the policy making process. It is also important to have representation in all political offices “I want to help people in the way my family would have wanted to be helped when we first moved to the city.” —Aly Hernandez, B.A. '19 Have you attended any of the Black Lives Matter protests with Mayor Lucas? Do you brief him on the events? Has there been any policy instituted as a result?  I have attended Black Lives Matter Protests with and without the Mayor. I keep him up-to-date on any major things that may arise, but I am also there as a supporter for BLM. The Mayor is currently working on a few initiatives that resulted from the protests such as introducing an ordinance directing the City Manager to examine any city ordinances that have negative racial/bias language and directly affect people of color along with working with the Board of Police Commissioners and forming the Public Safety Study Group.  What are the challenges of your job? The benefits? The most challenging part of my job would be how quickly your day can change. Sometimes we go into the office with an idea of our plan for the day and then something changes which impacts our entire day. We just have to be comfortable with never knowing what each day might bring. The most rewarding part of the job would be how fast or quickly something can get passed by the council and almost immediately help people. It’s amazing how much non-partisan local governments can do without polarizing political views interfering with day-to-day Mayor and Council operations. Aly Hernandez, left, with U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II at a previous fundraising event. Where does your interest in politics and public service stem from? My interest in politics and public service has to come from seeing my family, friends, and neighbors live difficult lives. My parents and I are immigrants. I grew up undocumented in the northeast part of the city and am a product of public schools. I grew up hearing my classmates say that college wasn’t even in their minds, much less graduation. I’ve seen, and experienced myself, how families who have homes often struggle just to pay their utilities or struggle to provide basic services for their families. I want to help people in the way my family would have wanted to be helped when we first moved to the city.  What advice do you have for students who want to pursue a career in politics or public service? Sometimes change doesn’t happen immediately. It can take a long time, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t any less worthwhile to continue the effort. Patience is important in this field, but the relief in seeing the project through is like no other. “Sometimes change doesn’t happen immediately. It can take a long time, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t any less worthwhile to continue the effort.” —Aly Hernandez, B.A. ’19 What brought you to UMKC? I knew I wanted to be close to home and within a city that could provide me with many internship opportunities and scholarships. I found that at UMKC, and I also found my niche there as well. I think UMKC was big enough for me to get the large university experience, but small enough where I could get to know my professors and be involved on campus. Why did you choose your majors of criminal justice and French? I knew I wanted to get into politics and Criminal Justice fit perfectly with what I wanted to do. By focusing on crime, I’m able to apply those skills here in the office as needed as well. I’m currently getting a master of public administration in urban policy and my background in criminal justice helps me understand policy making and research that my professors often discuss in our classes. I also love learning languages, and French was always something I wanted to take when I was in high school but was never able to take since they only offered Spanish. I hope to learn another language soon. What is something you learned about yourself at UMKC? I learned that I should take care of myself as much as I am determined to help others. I never really paid much attention to self-care until I went to UMKC. I appreciate all the efforts they made to help us relax and have fun apart from just studying all day. Self-care really stuck with me even after undergrad. Why did you and your family come to the United States? My mom left Mexico to give us a better opportunity in life. She grew up poor and wanted more opportunities for my sister and I. She left her life behind and crossed the border like millions of others did to join my grandparents in Texas. She didn’t see her mother for 17 years until she received her green card. She made a huge sacrifice, and I will always be appreciative of it. Jul 09, 2020

  • Tackling Racism in the Workforce

    Panelists call for action on multiple fronts to drive change
    How do we drive change to address systemic racism in the workplace? Use your voice, use your vote and use your purchasing power. That was one of the primary messages emerging from the first of a series of “Critical Conversations” panel discussions sponsored by Chancellor Mauli Agrawal of the University of Missouri-Kansas City and the university’s Division of Diversity and Inclusion. Panelists discussed how racism – often unconscious but no less real – remains pervasive in the American workplace, despite years of training programs and volumes of legislation. In order to continue the anti-racist momentum arising in the wake of the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, panelists said people of color, and their white allies, must use multiple avenues of leverage to drive ongoing awareness and action. More than 600 people tuned in. Participating panelists included: Gary O'Bannon (Moderator), Executive in Residence, Henry W. Bloch School of Management and former Director of Human Resources, City of Kansas City, Mo.  Clyde McQueen, President and Chief Executive Officer, Full Employment Council Uzo Nwonwu, Corporate Legal Counsel, UMB Bank Jeffrey J. Simon, Office Managing Partner, Husch Blackwell LLP A'yanna Tomlin, UMKC student, studying Business Administration  Racism in the workplace is rarely overt or obvious, Nwonwu said, and it is often sanctioned by “facially neutral” language: a policy or standard that does not mention race, but has the net effect of favoring white people and exploiting disadvantages that are more prevalent or powerful among people of color. Simon said an example would be a standard that favors the connections that white males have to power structure networks, such as minimum revenue generation standards for partnerships in a law firm. It can also be subtle, McQueen said. When people of color are not acknowledged or recognized in group interaction, they sometimes lose confidence and become withdrawn. “They take themselves out of the game,” he said. Tomlin said people of color often feel pressured to practice “respectability politics” in the workplace: “Putting on an act, a face, to make the other people in the room more comfortable.” Government and business policies also play a powerful role in workplace racism, panelists agreed. Those policies, for example, drive many of the best job opportunities well outside of the urban core, out of reach of underfunded public transit systems that people of color depend on. Too often, workplace diversity programming is a check-the-box exercise with little impact on entrenched company culture. Panelist offered several strategies for moving past that barrier. McQueen said organizations must commit to monitoring progress and reporting improvement – or the lack thereof – in an honest and transparent manner. “Build cultural competency into job descriptions and performance reviews,” he said. “If you’re not getting it done in-house, you need to bring in an outside expert,” Nwonwu said. “Outside forces can infuse new ideas into the conversation but change has to come from inside.” When progress fails to happen, Nwonwu said, people have to decide to either confront it, or look for better opportunities elsewhere. Simon said that applies not just to those who experience workplace racism, but also those who witness it. People of color cannot bear the burden alone, “The white power structure that built the structure of systemic racism has to be a part of tearing it down,” he said. ”It takes leadership, and a sincere, heartfelt belief that it’s part of who we are and what we believe in. And to have the courage to look at ourselves and say, here is where we are not doing a good job.” Tomlin said companies need deeds to match their words. “A lot of these companies issued statements of solidarity with Black Lives Matter, but then I look at their all-white executive board. You have to practice what you preach.” McQueen urged people to do the research they need to use their power of the purse effectively, doing business with organizations that have demonstrated a genuine commitment to addressing systemic racism. That applies to both personal consumption and business relationships within their organizations. “Use your voice, use your vote and use your purchasing power,” he said. Jul 09, 2020

  • UMKC Analysis Finds Few Pandemic Loans Went to Women, Minorities

    Fox4KC interviewed Brent Never about his analysis of federal data on the Paycheck Protection Program
      Brent Never, coordinator of the new UMKC Institute for Data Education, Analytics and Science, conducted an analysis of the Paycheck Protection Program loans. The analysis and found only 341 of 4,677 went to minority- or women-owned firms. Read the full story from Fox4KC. Jul 09, 2020
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  • UMKC Data Analysis: Federal COVID Loan Program Eluded Minorities, Women in KC

    Only 341 of 4,677 Paycheck Protection Program loans went to minority- or women-owned firms
    A $650 billion federal loan program created to address the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic failed to reach large numbers of women, Black, Hispanic or Asian people in the Kansas City region, according to an analysis by the new UMKC Institute for Data Education, Analytics and Science (IDEAS). The coordinator of the new institute is Brent Never, associate professor at the Henry W. Bloch School of Management. Never conducted an analysis after the Small Business Administration on Monday released information about the recipients of the Paycheck Protection Program loans tied to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Never’s analysis found that the program made 4,677 loans of $150,000 or more in the Kansas City region to small businesses or 501(c)(3) public charities with up to 500 employees. Of those loans: 24 went to African American/Black-owned firms; 34 went to Hispanic-owned firms; 33 went to Asian-owned firms; 250 went to women-owned firms. The vision for IDEAS is positioning UMKC as the top option for data science training in the region, building on the university’s strengths in biomedical informatics, big data analytics, image analysis, digital humanities and geospatial analysis. Jul 08, 2020

  • Beams of Light to Treat Diabetes: UMKC Invention Gets Federal Funding Boost

    Pharmacy researcher awarded $1.5 million NIH grant to refine innovation
    The University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Pharmacy has been awarded a $1.5 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to continue work on an important advancement to help treat the tens of millions of people who have diabetes. The lifetime burden of constantly checking blood sugar and injecting insulin is significant. UMKC research has developed a way of delivering insulin to diabetics that eliminates pumps and most injections. “We’re aiming to improve the lives of diabetics all over the world,” said UMKC pharmacy professor Simon Friedman, the principal investigator on the grant. Normally, diabetics must inject themselves with insulin numerous times per day to enable the body to absorb blood sugar. The amount of insulin needed and timing vary with what an individual eats and their activity level. With blood glucose continuously varying, the insulin requirement parallels the amount of glucose in the blood. The only clinically-used method to permit continuously variable delivery of therapeutic proteins like insulin is a pump. But they do so at a high cost:  a physical connection to the outside of the patient, where the drug reservoir resides, and the inside of the patient, where drug absorption will ultimately take place. This connection in insulin pumps is a cannula — or needle — which can be dislodged, crimped, snagged, infected and most importantly, rapidly gets biofouled from moisture after implantation. This leads to variable and unpredictable delivery.  For several years, Friedman and his lab associates have been developing a method in which a single injection of a material called a PAD (photo-activated depot) can take the place of multiple normal insulin injections and allow for minute-by-minute automatic updating of insulin release. The material is injected into the skin like insulin, but lies dormant until a beam of light stimulates release of insulin, in response to blood sugar information. The new grant will help make the technology more reliable for someone to use and easier to manage.  “With the improvements, we anticipate creating a new and revolutionary approach to continuously variable protein delivery, one that minimizes invasiveness and maximizes the close matching of therapeutic with patient requirements,” Friedman said. Karen Kover, associate professor of pediatrics at the UMKC School of Medicine and Children’s Mercy, has been an integral member of the research team for years, and Friedman is grateful for her collaboration. Reviewers of the grant application praised the work, and Friedman, who has won previous NIH funding, said this was his highest rated grant award. “We are grateful for the enthusiastic response from the NIH study section, given the very competitive nature of funding at this time during the pandemic,” said UMKC Vice Chancellor for Research Chris Liu. The project is supported by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases at the NIH. In people with type 1 diabetes, the pancreas no longer makes insulin. Patients need insulin to process sugar from meals. People with type 2 diabetes make insulin, but their bodies don’t respond well to it. At first the pancreas produces extra insulin to make up for it. But over time it isn’t able to keep up and can’t make enough insulin to keep blood sugar at normal levels. About 34.2 million children and adults in the U.S. — 10.5% of the population — have diabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than 25 percent use insulin shots. About 86 million people ages 20 and older in the U.S. have prediabetes. Complications from diabetes include heart disease and stroke, high blood pressure, blindness, kidney disease, nervous system damage and amputation. People with diabetes risk more serious complications from COVID-19 than others who do not have the disease. “Through research at UMKC, we strive to improve the health of not just our community but our entire population,” said Chancellor Mauli Agrawal. “We are proud of Dr. Friedman and his team’s innovation, which could significantly benefit people around the world.” Jul 08, 2020
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  • Cameron High School Graduate Named UMKC Trustees' Scholar

    Kansas City's university awards seven for 2020
    Aubrey Brown, a spring 2020 Cameron High School graduate, has been named a University of Missouri-Kansas City Trustees’ Scholar.  When Brown begins business administration studies at UMKC in the fall, she will receive a scholarship valued at $60,000 over four years. Her award is supported by the UMKC Board of Trustees, the founder of the scholarship program. An annual member of the Principal’s Honor Roll and academic letter recipient, Brown was president of National Honor Society, vice president of DECA, co-captain of the pom squad, president of the chamber choir and member of the drama club. She was also a member of the Northwest Missouri All-District Choir and volunteered with Meals on Wheels through the Cameron Regional Hospital. Brown consistently played lead roles in school theater productions, received the Rising Star award for her involvement in arts at school and was named Best Female Vocalist in the Cameron High School choir two years in a row. Brown won first place in the Northwest Missouri District 1 Hospitality and Tourism Operations Research DECA competition. In the essay submitted to the Trustees’ Scholars selection committee, Brown shares why she plans to pursue a degree in business and marketing. “I love all of the opportunities the marketing field offers for creativity and variety; you have the potential to be doing something new and imaginative every day. I enjoy getting to organize and design fun flyers and videos for events. Through projects I have done for DECA, I have made a few flyers with online programs. I have even made a flyer for a girl who organized a fashion show for our community last summer.” The Trustees’ Scholarship provides educational fees and on-campus room and board for the first two years. In the third and fourth years, the package provides educational fees and $2,000 for room and board. Each Trustees’ Scholar also receives $500 toward books each year. To qualify as Trustees’ Scholars, students must meet at least two of the following three criteria: score a minimum ACT Composite of 30, rank in the top five percent of the graduating class, or have a cumulative grade point average of 3.5 or more in a 17-class core curriculum. Trustees’ Scholars must enroll full-time, be seeking an undergraduate degree and commit to living on campus for the first two years. The UMKC Trustees’ Scholars Program is unique in that it aligns students closely with corporate sponsors, who give students access to their professional knowledge and experience, insight into the inner workings of the company or institution they represent, and a strong mentor relationship throughout the college experience. Students have opportunities to network and find internships or jobs through the Trustees and their connections in the community. The UMKC Board of Trustees is a non-profit organization established by civic and community leaders to support the University. Members advocate on the University's behalf, provide community feedback and forge partnerships to help the University achieve its strategic priorities and financial objectives. Jul 07, 2020

  • Joplin High School Graduate Named UMKC Trustees' Scholar

    Kansas City's university awards seven for 2020
    Lily Dang, a spring 2020 Joplin High School graduate, has been named a University of Missouri-Kansas City Trustees’ Scholar.  When Dang begins biology studies at UMKC in the fall, she will receive a scholarship valued at $60,000 over four years. Her award is supported by the UMKC Board of Trustees, the founder of the scholarship program. Active in the Future Business Leaders of America, Dang was vice president of membership and a senior representative in addition to being a member of student council and Key Club. She volunteered at St. Peter’s Outreach House preparing and serving food to the hungry and held the position of secretary with Messengers of Christ, a group responsible for educating youth about faith and their Vietnamese heritage. During her final two years at Joplin High School, Dang was a member of the National Honor Society, National English Honor Society and National Technical Honor Society. In the essay submitted to the Trustees’ Scholars selection committee, Dang explains why she wants to pursue a career in medicine. “Growing up, I’ve always been so curious about why and how things work. When it comes to understanding life, especially the human body, it makes my heart skip a beat. There are so many questions that I ponder about. Why is life the way it is? Why are people the way they are? All these thoughts fascinate me.” The Trustees’ Scholarship provides educational fees and on-campus room and board for the first two years. In the third and fourth years, the package provides educational fees and $2,000 for room and board. Each Trustees’ Scholar also receives $500 toward books each year. To qualify as Trustees’ Scholars, students must meet at least two of the following three criteria: score a minimum ACT Composite of 30, rank in the top five percent of the graduating class, or have a cumulative grade point average of 3.5 or more in a 17-class core curriculum. Trustees’ Scholars must enroll full-time, be seeking an undergraduate degree and commit to living on campus for the first two years. The UMKC Trustees’ Scholars Program is unique in that it aligns students closely with corporate sponsors, who give students access to their professional knowledge and experience, insight into the inner workings of the company or institution they represent, and a strong mentor relationship throughout the college experience. Students have opportunities to network and find internships or jobs through the Trustees and their connections in the community.  The UMKC Board of Trustees is a non-profit organization established by civic and community leaders to support the University. Members advocate on the University's behalf, provide community feedback and forge partnerships to help the University achieve its strategic priorities and financial objectives. Jul 07, 2020
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  • Olathe South High School Graduate Named UMKC Trustees' Scholar

    Kansas City's university awards seven for 2020
    Whitney Schweiger, a spring 2020 Olathe South High School graduate, has been named a University of Missouri-Kansas City Trustees’ Scholar. When Schweiger begins music education studies at UMKC in the fall, she will receive a scholarship valued at $60,000 over four years. Her award is supported by the UMKC Board of Trustees, the founder of the scholarship program. A Kansas Honor Scholar, Schweiger was a member of the National Honor Society, Fountain City Youth Brass Band and Tri-M Music Honor Society. She was a drum major of the Olathe South Band, received the Terry James Social Science Award and was also a nominee for the Wellesley College Book Award. Schweiger served as president of United Sound, a club that teaches students with special needs how to play an instrument, and volunteered with Harvesters and as a writing center tutor at Olathe South. In the essay submitted to the Trustees’ Scholars selection committee, Schweiger explains the importance of leadership.  “Leadership has taught me how to connect with others, work as a team, and make decisions for the good of a whole. These lessons are important to all people in everyday life, which is why I believe that it is important for everybody to know how to be a leader.” The Trustees’ Scholarship provides educational fees and on-campus room and board for the first two years. In the third and fourth years, the package provides educational fees and $2,000 for room and board. Each Trustees’ Scholar also receives $500 toward books each year. To qualify as Trustees’ Scholars, students must meet at least two of the following three criteria: score a minimum ACT Composite of 30, rank in the top five percent of the graduating class, or have a cumulative grade point average of 3.5 or more in a 17-class core curriculum. Trustees’ Scholars must enroll full-time, be seeking an undergraduate degree and commit to living on campus for the first two years. The UMKC Trustees’ Scholars Program is unique in that it aligns students closely with corporate sponsors, who give students access to their professional knowledge and experience, insight into the inner workings of the company or institution they represent, and a strong mentor relationship throughout the college experience. Students have opportunities to network and find internships or jobs through the Trustees and their connections in the community. The UMKC Board of Trustees is a non-profit organization established by civic and community leaders to support the University. Members advocate on the University's behalf, provide community feedback and forge partnerships to help the University achieve its strategic priorities and financial objectives. Jul 07, 2020
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  • Park Hill High School Graduate Named UMKC Trustees' Scholar

    Kansas City's university awards seven in 2020
    Grace Yu, a spring 2020 Park Hill High School graduate, has been named a University of Missouri-Kansas City Trustees’ Scholar. When Yu begins accounting studies at UMKC in the fall, she will receive a scholarship valued at $60,000 over four years. Her award is supported by the UMKC Board of Trustees, the founder of the scholarship program. Yu was a section leader in the marching band and as co-captain, led her team to the Varsity Tennis Co-Conference Championship title in 2019. Yu was an AP Scholar of Distinction at Park Hill High School and also graduated in 2017 from the Chinese School of Greater Kansas City where she placed first in a speech competition. In 2016, Yu’s piano performance earned high marks at the MSHSAA District Solo and Ensemble Festival and allowed her to advance to the state festival where she received the highest rating. Yu served on the leadership committee for the Trojan Mentors program at Park Hill, as a teaching assistant at the Chinese School of Greater Kansas City and traveled with the Youth Summer Mission Project to host Vacation Bible School on a Native American reservation in Arizona. Recently, she organized a book drive for Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City where she collected and donated 159 books for children in need. In the essay submitted to the Trustees’ Scholars selection committee, Yu shared her career goals. “I plan to pursue a master’s degree in accounting to become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), followed by a Juris Doctorate degree to become a tax attorney. My interest in both these fields comes from how much I enjoy maximizing the use of my money, in my case, to contribute to a greater cause.” The Trustees’ Scholarship provides educational fees and on-campus room and board for the first two years. In the third and fourth years, the package provides educational fees and $2,000 for room and board. Each Trustees’ Scholar also receives $500 toward books each year. To qualify as Trustees’ Scholars, students must meet at least two of the following three criteria: score a minimum ACT Composite of 30, rank in the top five percent of the graduating class, or have a cumulative grade point average of 3.5 or more in a 17-class core curriculum. Trustees’ Scholars must enroll full-time, be seeking an undergraduate degree and commit to living on campus for the first two years. The UMKC Trustees’ Scholars Program is unique in that it aligns students closely with corporate sponsors, who give students access to their professional knowledge and experience, insight into the inner workings of the company or institution they represent, and a strong mentor relationship throughout the college experience. Students have opportunities to network and find internships or jobs through the Trustees and their connections in the community. The UMKC Board of Trustees is a non-profit organization established by civic and community leaders to support the University. Members advocate on the University's behalf, provide community feedback and forge partnerships to help the University achieve its strategic priorities and financial objectives. Jul 07, 2020
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  • Clinton High School Graduate Named UMKC Trustees' Scholar

    Kansas City's university awards seven in 2020
    Madelyn Bremer, a spring 2020 Clinton High School graduate, has been named a University of Missouri-Kansas City Trustees’ Scholar. When Bremer begins political science studies at UMKC in the fall, she will receive a scholarship valued at $60,000 over four years. Her award is supported by the UMKC Board of Trustees, the founder of the scholarship program. In addition to academic excellence, Bremer held a variety of leadership positions in the Future Business Leaders of America, including chapter president and north central region vice president. She was the Student Council Senior Class president, the National Honor Society chapter secretary/treasurer, a student body delegate in the Student Activities Leadership Team and volunteered as a tutor as well as worked part-time at Cook Auction Company. In the essay submitted to the Trustees’ Scholars selection committee, Bremer shares why she plans to pursue a career in law after receiving her political science degree. “I believe the law is the base of our society, and I want to help people at its foundation. I know that I can best accomplish this as a human rights attorney, where I hope to work on cases that will improve the lives of the people around me. With this career, I can incorporate my passion for social justice and the skills I will gain to make an impact that matters.”  The Trustees’ Scholarship provides educational fees and on-campus room and board for the first two years. In the third and fourth years, the package provides educational fees and $2,000 for room and board. Each Trustees’ Scholar also receives $500 toward books each year. To qualify as Trustees’ Scholars, students must meet at least two of the following three criteria: score a minimum ACT Composite of 30, rank in the top five percent of the graduating class, or have a cumulative grade point average of 3.5 or more in a 17-class core curriculum. Trustees’ Scholars must enroll full-time, be seeking an undergraduate degree and commit to living on campus for the first two years. The UMKC Trustees’ Scholars Program is unique in that it aligns students closely with corporate sponsors, who give students access to their professional knowledge and experience, insight into the inner workings of the company or institution they represent, and a strong mentor relationship throughout the college experience. Students have opportunities to network and find internships or jobs through the Trustees and their connections in the community. The UMKC Board of Trustees is a non-profit organization established by civic and community leaders to support the University. Members advocate on the University's behalf, provide community feedback and forge partnerships to help the University achieve its strategic priorities and financial objectives. Jul 07, 2020

  • Ladue Horton Watkins High School Graduate Named UMKC Trustees' Scholar

    Kansas City's university awards seven in 2020
    Isabella del Cid, a spring 2020 Ladue Horton Watkins High School graduate, has been named a University of Missouri-Kansas City Trustees’ Scholar. When del Cid begins health sciences studies at UMKC in the fall, she will receive a scholarship valued at $60,000 over four years. Her award is supported by the UMKC Board of Trustees, the founder of the scholarship program. She was secretary of Health Occupations Students of America, vice president of the Make-A-Wish Club and co-captain of the volleyball team. A mainstay on the honor roll throughout high school, del Cid received the AP Scholar Award, Ram Pride Award and was a member of the National Honor Society. She was also named to the Ladue All-Academic Team for volleyball and received All-Conference honorable mentions in 2018-2019 and 2019-2020.  Del Cid volunteered with the Ladue Special Olympics tournaments and at St. Luke’s Hospital as a courier and served as a camp counselor at King’s Kids Camp. In the essay submitted to the Trustees’ Scholars selection committee, del Cid shares how being a camp counselor affirmed her passion for helping others.  “The servitude that I show at camp has grown in my daily life. I have an intense drive to help others, and that passion consequently boosts my confidence in my abilities. I’m able to lead people confidently by putting their needs first and helping them grow personally.” The Trustees’ Scholarship provides educational fees and on-campus room and board for the first two years. In the third and fourth years, the package provides educational fees and $2,000 for room and board. Each Trustees’ Scholar also receives $500 toward books each year. To qualify as Trustees’ Scholars, students must meet at least two of the following three criteria: score a minimum ACT Composite of 30, rank in the top five percent of the graduating class, or have a cumulative grade point average of 3.5 or more in a 17-class core curriculum. Trustees’ Scholars must enroll full-time, be seeking an undergraduate degree and commit to living on campus for the first two years. The UMKC Trustees’ Scholars Program is unique in that it aligns students closely with corporate sponsors, who give students access to their professional knowledge and experience, insight into the inner workings of the company or institution they represent, and a strong mentor relationship throughout the college experience. Students have opportunities to network and find internships or jobs through the Trustees and their connections in the community. The UMKC Board of Trustees is a non-profit organization established by civic and community leaders to support the University. Members advocate on the University's behalf, provide community feedback and forge partnerships to help the University achieve its strategic priorities and financial objectives. Jul 07, 2020
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  • Ruskin High School Graduate Named UMKC Trustees' Scholar

    Kansas City's university awards seven in 2020
    Mouada Allan, a spring 2020 Ruskin High School graduate, has been named a University of Missouri-Kansas City Trustees’ Scholar.  When Allan begins biology studies at UMKC in the fall, she will receive a scholarship valued at $60,000 over four years. Her award is supported by the UMKC Board of Trustees, the founder of the scholarship program. Allan, who is already a Certified Nursing Assistant and plans to become a doctor, was co-president of the National Honor Society, vice-president of Health Occupations Students of America and served as a student representative on the Superintendent’s Council in addition to being captain of the soccer team. A mainstay on the honor roll throughout high school, Allan interned with the First Hand Foundation at Cerner and volunteered in the long-term care wing at Truman Medical Center during the summers of 2017 and 2018. In the essay submitted to the Trustees’ Scholars selection committee, Allan shares why she values tact in a leader. “As a Muslim female in the United States, I tend to receive many stares and comments from others who aren’t fully informed about Islam. Hence, I communicate with them tactfully to ensure that I can convey my opinion without offending the other person or their views … If tact wasn't used in situations like this, where two people have different viewpoints, then a dispute may break out. On the other hand, when tact is used, both sides can voice their views and opinions on the topic to understand each other peacefully.” The Trustees’ Scholarship provides educational fees and on-campus room and board for the first two years. In the third and fourth years, the package provides educational fees and $2,000 for room and board. Each Trustees’ Scholar also receives $500 toward books each year. To qualify as Trustees’ Scholars, students must meet at least two of the following three criteria: score a minimum ACT Composite of 30, rank in the top five percent of the graduating class, or have a cumulative grade point average of 3.5 or more in a 17-class core curriculum. Trustees’ Scholars must enroll full-time, be seeking an undergraduate degree and commit to living on campus for the first two years. The UMKC Trustees’ Scholars Program is unique in that it aligns students closely with corporate sponsors, who give students access to their professional knowledge and experience, insight into the inner workings of the company or institution they represent, and a strong mentor relationship throughout the college experience. Students have opportunities to network and find internships or jobs through the Trustees and their connections in the community. The UMKC Board of Trustees is a non-profit organization established by civic and community leaders to support the University. Members advocate on the University's behalf, provide community feedback and forge partnerships to help the University achieve its strategic priorities and financial objectives. Jul 07, 2020

  • Faculty Receive UM System President’s Awards

    The 2020 recipients include Richard Delaware and Sarah Pilgrim
    Each year, the highly competitive UM System President’s Awards recognize faculty who have made exceptional contributions in advancing the mission of the University. The awards are presented on behalf of President Mun Choi to faculty members across the four universities of the UM System. President’s Award recipients will be recognized at a Board of Curators meeting on their university campus, as well as at a faculty awards event hosted at their home institution. This year, two UMKC faculty, Richard Delaware and Sarah Pilgrim, were among the 13 awardees recognized across the UM System. President’s Award for Innovative Teaching Richard Delaware, Ph.D. Richard Delaware, Ph.D., Teaching Professor of Mathematics and Statistics, UMKC In Delaware’s own words: “We must encourage our students to reason actively, not blindly master mathematical tools, and to trust to their own innate originality. Mathematics is a quintessentially human endeavor.” Delaware teaches mathematics courses that integrate history, writing, immersion and active learning principles. His students have published dozens of expository mathematics publications and won numerous national and local writing awards. In his classes, students engage with the subject by working together on mathematical proofs and posting them on online learning platforms. He also has created YouTube-based courses that can supplement high school and college lectures. Importantly, his methods of educating middle school mathematics teaching majors inspire them to re-create empowering education experiences for their future students. Delaware’s innovative teaching encourages students to take ownership of their learning and apply creativity to all aspects of life. President’s Award for Intercampus Collaboration Sarah Pilgrim, Ph.D. Sarah Pilgrim, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, School of Social Work, UMKC Ginny Ramseyer Winter, Ph.D., MU The Inter-Campus Collaboration Award recognizes faculty who engage in activities that foster collaboration across two or more universities of the University of Missouri System. At UMKC, Sarah Pilgrim, Ph.D., focuses on the sexual health and decision-making of adolescents in foster care. At MU, Ginny Ramseyer Winter, Ph.D., investigates body image and health disparities. She created the Center for Body Image Research & Policy with the help of MU colleagues; and faculty from other universities, including Pilgrim, are affiliated. The collaboration includes departmental affiliations with Psychology at Penn State Abington, Textile and Apparel Management at the University of Missouri-Columbia, Social Work at Washburn University, Social Work at the University of Arkansas, Public Health at the University of Missouri-Columbia and the College of Engineering at the University of Missouri-Columbia. The range of collaborators and their departments speaks to both Ramseyer Winter and Pilgrim’s dedication to interdisciplinary partnerships. Their work examines body image and sexual health among Missouri foster youth and utilizes mobile technology to provide foster parents with the knowledge and skills necessary to help decrease sexual health disparities. Importantly, this study would not be possible without intercampus collaboration. Ramseyer Winter and Pilgrim’s sincere desire to better the lives of underserved youth is energizing for all those involved. This collaborative project will go a long way to assisting the most vulnerable young Missourians by disseminating critical public health information. Jul 07, 2020
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  • UMKC Researcher Tests Masks

    KSHB talked to Steven Siegel about his research on mask misconceptions
    Steve Siegel, senior research design engineer with the Department of Physics and Astronomy, told McKenzie Nelson that false information compelled him to conduct his own research on masks. Find out more by reading the story online. Jul 07, 2020

  • Scholarship Honors Renowned UMKC Professor

    Henry Frankel was admired for his research and personal connection
    The recent death of Henry R. Frankel, Ph.D., who was known as “Hank” to his friends, has left a void for those who knew him. Passionate and enthusiastic about his family, his research and his students during his 43-year career at UMKC, Frankel’s legacy will continue to enhance the university through a new scholarship. “Hank Frankel is the most accomplished and influential scholar the philosophy department at UMKC has ever had,” says Bruce Bubacz, Ph.D., Frankel’s friend and colleague. “His extraordinarily complete and extensive research into the controversy over the acceptance of continental drift and plate tectonics must be examined and understood by anyone who is studying that subject.” Frankel devoted much of his professional life to studying the theory of continental drift, which was initially received with skepticism. “Hank Frankel is the most accomplished and influential scholar the philosophy department at UMKC has ever had.” - Bruce Bubacz, Ph.D. “In 2012, Cambridge University Press published his four-volume work, ‘Continental Drift Controversy: Wegener and the Early Debate,’” Bubacz says. “It was the culmination of a distinguished 40-year research career and has brought recognition to our university among philosophers and historians of science as well as Earth scientists and physicists.” Frankel called the work a “romance,” referring to its emotion, imagination, heroism, mystery and adventure. The volumes are considered the definitive work on continental drift and plate tectonics in the field of Earth science. Bubacz notes that the verification that the continents were not stationary was revolutionary. “The plate tectonics revolution changed Earth science as profoundly as the Copernican revolution changed astronomy and the Darwinian revolution changed biology,” he says. Beyond Frankel’s groundbreaking work, he was a remarkable human being. Bubacz says that he was one of the first professors to “flip the classroom” by posting his notes online and devoting class time to discussion and debate. His family remembers that his passion for teaching and his excitement about science and philosophy were obvious to his students. "He could be loud and enthusiastic when teaching, walking back and forth in front of the class, talking excitedly.” - Johanna Comes, Frankel’s daughter “He could be loud and enthusiastic when teaching, walking back and forth in front of the class, talking excitedly,” says Johanna Comes, Frankel’s daughter. “It was as if he hoped that through his genuine excitement for the subject, his students would become genuinely excited for the material also. And his delight for teaching wasn’t just with college students. One year, he came to my grade school class to give a talk about basic logic. He brought logic workbooks for the kids and he worked through some problems with us. I don't know if he inspired any kids to become future philosophers, but it was cool that he took time to do that." Comes says that her father expected students to work hard, but he genuinely wanted them to succeed. She remembers that he committed himself to working with students who struggled with the subject matter as long as he could see they were trying. Her sister, Nora Frankel, agrees. “My dad always wanted his students to succeed,” she says. “I think his dedication to education was apparent in not only the way he treated his students, but also how he was an educator at home, both with me and my sister and his granddaughters.” Paula Frankel, Frankel’s wife of 50 years, witnessed his extra efforts to help students who were interested in undergraduate or graduate degrees in philosophy. She and her children are proud that the Henry R. Frankel Scholarship in philosophy will recognize his efforts. “In a way, this scholarship is just a continuation of that help,” she says. “I think he, and I know his family, are proud to have this established in his name.” Henry Frankel signed his correspondence, “Joy, Hank.” The Henry Frankel Scholarship in philosophy will continue the sentiment of his parting wish for future scholars in the field.   For more information about scholarships, please contact Financial Aid and Scholarships. Jul 06, 2020

  • Classical Music Is Back On the Radio In Kansas City for the First Time In Eight Years

    KCUR officially launches 91.9 Classical KC
    Kansas City has not had a classical music station since KXTR went off the air more than eight years ago. Classical KC will operate out of the same space at 4825 Troost in Kansas City, in a building owned by the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Read more. Jul 06, 2020

  • UMKC School of Medicine Professor Dispels Mask Myth

    The Kansas City Star gets advice from Michael Moncure about the Kansas City COVID-19 mask orders and exemptions
    The Kansas City Star interviewed Michael Moncure about an internet myth that diabetics who wear a mask risk spiking their blood sugar. A Kansas City Star subscription is required to read the full article. Jul 06, 2020

  • Classical KC News Makes National, Local Headlines

    Media coverage includes Yahoo Finance
    KCUR public radio, the University of Missouri-Kansas City and a host of Kansas City’s charitable foundations are bringing classical radio to Kansas City. The announcement made local and national headlines including Yahoo Finance, Broadway World and The Kansas City Star.   Jul 06, 2020

  • UMKC Bloch School Professor Weighs In on Retention of Patrick Mahomes

    KCTV5 interviewed Brent Never
    Brent Never, Henry W. Bloch School of Management at UMKC associate professor, said the Chiefs aren’t the only people who should be excited to see this photo securing the champion quarterback as a Kansas City fixture for an additional ten years. Read more. Jul 06, 2020
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  • Classical KC: A New Music Platform for Kansas City

    KCUR creates second radio station to provide 24/7 classical service
    At a time when we most need it, classical radio has returned to Kansas City. 91.9 Classical KC began broadcasting June 30 and is now operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The music service also can be streamed through a new website at classicalkc.org. The station is an enterprise of KCUR 89.3, Kansas City’s public radio station, which purchased the signal at 91.9 FM from William Jewell College in late June. KCUR is an editorially independent community service of the University of Missouri-Kansas City, which holds its broadcasting license. Adding a second radio station to its portfolio fits well with KCUR’s history of supporting Kansas City’s rich arts culture, said Sarah Morris, interim general manager. “We see Classical KC as a cultural institution in the making,” Morris said. “Over time, we want the new station to be Kansas City’s ambassador for all things classical, and this is a fundamental step in that direction.” Morris pointed out that the purchase of the station would not have been possible without the generous support of several key funders in Kansas City. “We are supremely grateful to those wonderful funding partners who enthusiastically agreed to make initial investments in this vital project,” Morris said. For the past 20 years, Kansas City has been one of the few metropolitan areas of its size without a full-time classical music radio station. But, with the launch of the new music platform, KCUR intends to do more than simply play classical compositions. “Classical KC will not only be a major asset to our world-renowned UMKC Conservatory, but to our entire Kansas City community at a time when the spirit of music is needed more than ever.” - UMKC Chanellor Mauli Agrawal 91.9 Classical KC will be a local service with a focus on Kansas City, its arts institutions, its home-grown musicians, its audiences and its schools. The new station will act as an ambassador for the classical community and will partner with area arts organizations such as the UMKC Conservatory, the Lyric Opera of Kansas City and the Kansas City Symphony to promote their work. Danny Beckley, executive director of the Kansas City Symphony, said he looks forward to working with the staff at Classical KC to develop innovative ways to share classical music with as broad an audience as possible. “We must democratize this music just as the ‘foodie’ movement has democratized our cultural taste buds,” Beckley said. “If we could commit to a collaborative partnership unburdened by more traditional siloed models of radio and orchestra, I believe such an effort could be transformational for Kansas City’s appetite for classical music.” Even before the purchase of 91.9 FM, William Jewell College and KCUR have enjoyed a longtime relationship that has included collaborative events involving the college’s Harriman-Jewell performing arts series. The launch of the new station allows that partnership to continue to flourish, says Elizabeth MacLeod Walls, president of William Jewell College.  “William Jewell College has a proud history as a supporter of the arts, from helping grow aspiring performers on our campus to bringing the best artists to Kansas City through the Harriman-Jewell Series. We believe music inspires creative thought, and this new station is a valuable addition to our culturally rich city.” “We see Classical KC as a cultural institution in the making. Over time, we want the new station to be Kansas City’s ambassador for all things classical, and this is a fundamental step in that direction.” - KCUR Interim General Manager Sarah Morris Stephen Steigman, KCUR’s longtime chief of broadcast operations, will lead Classical KC as its director. Over the next three years, the new station plans to expand its dedicated staff, including announcers, a social media/digital editor, a membership director and a community outreach coordinator. Steigman reiterated the importance of bringing Classical KC to life at this time. “While concert stages are dark, we can help classical arts organizations and musicians remain in front of their audiences at a time when they need to be in front of their audiences,” he said. “I’m looking forward especially to working with Kansas City’s musicians and organizations to find innovative ways to reach audiences through the broadcast of small-scale performances, living room concerts, interactive interviews and the airing of great archival content,” Steigman said, adding that classicalkc.org will provide a choice platform from which to share the work of local performing arts organizations, including performances and works by UMKC Conservatory faculty and students. While most commercial classical stations in the country have gone out of business in the past two decades — including KXTR in Kansas City — classical music is flourishing on public radio. More than 11 million listeners in the U.S. tune in to classical music on 71 public radio stations nationwide. “While concert stages are dark, we can help classical arts organizations and musicians remain in front of their audiences at a time when they need to be in front of their audiences.” - Classical KC Director Stephen Steigman The new station will be operated by KCUR as a community service of the UMKC, and will reinforce the university’s long-standing commitment to the arts in Kansas City. Classical KC will be funded exclusively by private donors, partner marketing and a membership program modeled after the one that helps sustain KCUR. No state or tuition money will be involved in this enterprise, Morris said. Although the new station’s signal is located in Independence, Missouri, it will be run out of KCUR’s offices at UMKC. “We are thrilled by this new partnership and celebration of the arts,” said UMKC Chancellor Mauli Agrawal. “Classical KC will not only be a major asset to our world-renowned UMKC Conservatory, but to our entire Kansas City community at a time when the spirit of music is needed more than ever.” About KCUR KCUR 89.3 is a public radio service deeply rooted in the Kansas City metro area since 1957. It is the flagship NPR station in Kansas City, connecting people to ideas and to each other through news reporting, thoughtful conversation and vibrant expressions of arts and culture. The station serves the public by reporting on and sharing information about local governments, politics, education, health care, arts and culture through the voices of the people living those stories. It spotlights the creative works of artists, musicians and innovators who make the world and our community more vibrant. It brings people together through events intended to inspire and engage. The station is operated as an editorially independent community service of the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC), which holds the station's broadcast license. The station broadcasts 24 hours a day in a 90-mile radius of Kansas City. Its audio stream, archived local programming and podcasts are available at kcur.org. The station leads three public media collaborations: Harvest Public Media, the Kansas News Service and America Amplified, a national project for the 2020 election year. Jul 05, 2020

  • Campus Vending Machines Sell Personal Protective Equipment

    All details considered in preparing for fall
    Under our new normal with COVID-19, no detail is too small to be considered when it comes to preparing for the safety of all on campus. Even the vending machines. This fall, there are two vending machines dedicated to personal protective equipment, commonly known as PPE. One will be at Royall Hall, near Einstein Brothers, on the Volker Campus. The other will be inside the Health Sciences Building on the Health Sciences Campus. “We are very fortunate to have a partnership with a local vending company that was fully prepared to address the personal safety and welfare of our students and the campus community during these unprecedented times,” said Jody Jeffries, manager of Student Union Operations and Student Auxiliary Services. The vending machines will offer: Ear-loop masks Hand sanitizer Disinfecting, antimicrobial wipes Disposable non-latex gloves Kits with a mix of items  Most items cost between $1 and $4 to keep them more affordable than what you’d buy in most stores, Jeffries said. Regular vending machines that sell snack items on both campuses also will be stocked with some PPE items. Jul 02, 2020
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  • 'A Bridge to the Stars' Mentors Help Former Student

    Fox4KC highlights contributions made to Jayden Francois
      Three years ago, Jayden Francois joined the UMKC “A Bridge to the Stars” program. It aims to teach high school students in the urban core, or who are under-represented, about STEM. One month ago, Jayden’s father, was murdered after a protest near the Plaza. Now, faculty and student mentors in the Bridge to the Stars program are showing support to Jayden and are helping him reach for the stars. Read the story by Fox4KC. Jul 01, 2020