Dr. Summer Schnakenberg-Ott, daughter of Kenneth and Barbara Schankenberg, Sedalia, received the Outstanding Recent Alumni Award during 2008 Spring Commencement exercises at the University of Central Missouri. The award, made possible by the UCM Alumni Association, was presented during the undergraduate commencement ceremony May 10 in the Multipurpose Building.
The Outstanding Recent Alumni Award recognizes any alumnus/a whose endeavors in business, professional, civic, philanthropic, organizations, performing arts, public service, volunteer, political or similar activities are worthy of recognition and have brought honor to the university. To receive the award, an individual must have earned a graduate or undergraduate degree from UCM within the last 10 years.
In September 2007, the UCM alumna became clinical director of the newly established CHRISTUS St. John Sports Medicine Concussion Center in Nassau Bay, Texas. As director, she heads up a one-of-kind comprehensive concussion center that treats head injuries, and provides an individualized approach to concussion management with clinical oversight and care. The center serves 11 different 2A to 5A high schools and a host of other athletes while also assisting adult workers, the elderly and others who have sustained concussions. Providing education programs to help people understand this type of head injury before and after it occurs and counseling to address patients’ and their families’ key concerns are important aspects of the center’s work. Her services are particularly needed in a community where so many young people are involved in high-collision sports.
After growing up in Cole Camp, Schnakenberg-Ott attended State Fair Community College in Sedalia, then came to UCM, where she completed a Bachelor of Science degree in 1999 and a Master of Science degree in 2001, both in psychology. While pursuing her education, she became heavily involved with research in the area of neuropsychological assessment, worked on a number of faculty grants, and received the Outstanding Graduate Student in Psychology Award. Shortly after earning a master’s degree, she served as an adjunct faculty instructor for general psychology courses at UCM and State Fair Community College. Her experience on campus as a graduate and undergraduate student also led to positive working relationships with faculty mentors, which continue today.
She later pursued a doctorate in clinical psychology at the Forrest Institute of Professional Psychology in Springfield, where she graduated in 2005. She completed a pre-doctoral internship from 2004 to 2005 at the Department of Veterans Affairs Pittsburgh Healthcare System in Pennsylvania, where she specialized in neuropsychology.
Used to taking on new challenges, Schnakenberg-Ott spent the next two years as a post-doctoral fellow in sports neuropsychology at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, where she got involved with post-concussion evaluation and management of athletes at all levels. This includes working with athletes at all levels, including professionals in the Pittsburgh Steelers football and Penguins hockey franchises.