UCM Feature Stories
Alix Calon Brings Professional Conference to UCM to Benefit Students
Reaching beyond the classroom and exploring future careers is important to Alix Calon. Last year, as a junior CADD student at UCM, she served as president of the UCM chapter of the American Institute of Building Design, but she wanted to do more to connect with the national chapter of the organization.
Alix organized a local conference to bring industry professionals and UCM students together. She collaborated with Steve Mickley, AIBD executive director, on major industry topics in the area of design and build. She contacted and coordinated speakers for the event, the location, and catering, along with travel and hotel accommodations, promotion and registration. The first annual Design and Build Day at UCM was a success.
As a result of her hard work and vision, Alix was named the first AIBD Design Student of the Year, and UCM's chapter of AIBD was named the Student Chapter of the Year.
Alix is serving again this year as president of the student chapter. She currently is planning the next conference, and she already has ideas for expanding student opportunities through networking.
"For students interested in residential work, this organization has a lot to offer," Alix said. "There are opportunities for continuing education and certifications. It can be key factor in the futures of our students as they enter the field of residential design."
Campus Cupboard Reflects UCM Culture of Service
Hunger is a social issue that reaches across all segments of American society, and university campuses are not immune to the problem.
When it became clear that there was a need to address hunger at UCM, the campus community came together and the Campus Cupboard was the result. The Department of Nutrition and Kinesiology and the Department of Communication Disorders and Social Work joined forces with the Office of Student Activities for the initial planning.
UCM Alumni Foundation Opportunity Grant provided funds to furnish and stock the pantry and provided assistance with the application for 501(c)3 tax exempt status. That opened the door to the pantryâ€™s partnership with Harvester Community Food Network in Kansas City. The support of the campus through individual donations from students, staff and the community, campus fundraisers and individual and group food collections supplements the food purchased from Harvesters.
The numbers tell the story. In its first month of operation after opening in October 2013, the Campus Cupboard served 76 people. In September 2016, 378 people were served. To date, more than 6,000 people have been served in more than 12,000 visits to the pantry, with more than 2,000 served so far in 2016.
The Campus Cupboard recently received recognition from Harvesters for its successful efforts as a Harvesters partner in the effort to eliminate hunger. The recognition is a reflection of the true culture of service that drives the success of the Campus Cupboard and defines UCM.
McNair Symposium a Highlight of Garrard's UCM Experience
When UCM senior Ashley Garrard graduates in spring 2017, she will take with her a variety of experiences that have laid the groundwork for her future.
As a first generation college student in the McNair Scholars Program with a major in economics, she also has been active in the UCM Student Government Association and The Honors College. She has traveled on four study abroad opportunities, and she works as a research assistant in the UCM Office of Institutional Research.
A highlight of her UCM experience was the opportunity to travel to the 24th Annual Ronald E. McNair Scholars Research Symposium at the University of California, Berkeley this past summer. She presented her research on the correlation between student fees and amenities provided by student recreation centers on college campuses.
"Ashley is the first student that the UCM McNair Scholars Program has sent to the conference," said Kari Azevedo, McNair academic coordinator. "She represented UCM very well, and it was a great opportunity for her."
For Garrard, the experience of meeting more than 250 undergraduate students from across the country reinforced her belief that she has received a strong foundation at UCM. She is applying to graduate schools across the country and has applied for a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford University.
For her love of learning and her willingness serve while engaging in a variety of experiences and worldly perspectives, Ashley Garrard exemplifies learning to a greater degree.
Return Trip to Jamaica Broadens Cultural Experience for UCM Students
A study abroad trip to Jamaica in June offered 12 UCM students an opportunity to experience the country's culture through the arts and service.
As a result of that experience, five of those UCM students will return to Jamaica for six days this month, accompanied by UCM faculty member Delia Gillis and student Kimberly Taylor, who will be traveling for the first time.
For Arissa Calvert, a senior from St. Louis, the return trip is a result of her first place win in the Calabash Literature Festival during the trip in June. She participated in an open mic competition, presenting her own original poetry. As a result, she has been invited to participate in the Musiktry Poetry Festival in Montego Bay.
"I didn't even realize it was competition," Arissa said of her open mic presentation in June. "But it's an honor to be asked to return. I'll read some of my new poetry." She also is excited about learning more about the county and culture of Jamaica.
"It's an amazing culture," she said. "How Jamaica gained its independence brings into focus how much it means to the people of Jamaica. It offers a whole new perspective on the freedoms we have at home."
While in Jamaica, the group also will participate in a service project with the Sandy Bank Primary School, coordinated through the Treasure Beach Service Group.
IPR Students Gain Valuable Experience in the Professional Realm
Providing students with real-life experiences is a key element of their academic success. For students in Innovative Public Relations, UCM's student-led public relations firm, the opportunity to work with UCM public relations alumnus and retired telecommunications executive Larry Schnieders on a documentary film project has yielded rewarding results.
IPR students are enrolled in UCM's public relations program. IPR works out of University Relations under the supervision of University Relations staff and public relations faculty.
UCM faculty and current and former members of IPR recently attended the annual PRISM Awards, hosted by the Greater Kansas City Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America, where they claimed a Silver PRISM Award for their work on the documentary film "Together We're Stronger." The film documents the come-from-behind victory of the former Bishop Lillis High School basketball team to claim the 1961 state championship.
Working over a period three semesters, students enrolled in IPR assisted with fundraising for the project, promoting the premiere of the film in Kansas City, and supported the film through social media, media, and web.
"UCM PR students work at a professional level that makes them unique among their peers," said Tricia Hansen-Horn, professor of marketing and public relations and faculty advisor for IPR. "Their professional prowess was recognized, and it was great to see these aspiring professionals be recognized by industry leaders."
Through engaged learning, UCM's IPR students have gained skills to take them into the future