Learning to a Greater Degree
UCM Feature Stories
UCM Students Write for Social Justice, Sweep Competition
Jonathan Thomas and Kendra Collins are passionate about the injustices in American society, and writing about these injustices earned them the 2014 Missouri Sociological Association Paper Competition Awards.
Thomas and Collins learned about the competition from their professors. Students were able to apply past assignments from UCM classes and compete against other students across from the state. This year's theme for paper submissions was social justice, and students were encouraged to use the opportunity to make a difference in society.
"I wanted to write about an issue that showed people how things really worked," says Thomas, a Communication Studies student.
Thomas explained the injustices for aspiring high school athletes living in the inner city, based off of Steve James' award-winning documentary Hoop Dreams. Thomas explored the film's controversial issues concerning race, economic division and education through his paper.
Collins, UCM Social Gerontology graduate student, felt the desire to compare the federal and Missouri laws surrounding domestic violence.
"Domestic violence is such a big issue today in our society," says Collins. "I wanted to bring awareness to the issue and what improvements need to be made."
By sharing their passions and speaking out against injustices, Collins and Thomas are learning to a greater degree.
ConocoPhillips Turns to UCM for Top Interns, Employees
Jamie Randall, an Occupational Safety and Health major, and Cullen Rosine, an Industrial Hygiene graduate student, were two of four UCM students selected by ConocoPhillips for summer internships that provided more than they ever imagined.
"University recruiting is all about establishing the future for companies like ConocoPhillips,” says Stephen de Albuquerque, Global Manager of Health and Safety Assurance for ConocoPhillips. “With this in mind, we are fortunate to have the opportunity to work with UCM. The UCM Safety Science programs ranks right up there with schools like Texas A&M, Oklahoma State and Montana Tech."
Rosine spent his internship with ConocoPhillips in Texas, and was recently offered a full-time position as a safety health environment and regulatory specialist to work with ConocoPhillips' growing Eagle Ford Shale business in South Texas.
"At ConocoPhillips you’re treated as a full-time employee," Rosine says. "You get hands-on experience in a variety of topics helping you gain knowledge on key health, safety and environmental issues."
During Randall's internship, she traveled to Canada to visit one of the company's biggest projects in the Canadian oil sands. "I loved it; it gave me a real sense of what I want to do in the future," says Randall.
By engaging in hands-on experiences through their internships with ConocoPhillips, UCM students are learning to a greater degree.
UCM Students and Faculty Gain Experience, Give Back with Project Community Connect
University of Central Missouri students from several majors gained hands-on experience while giving back at Project Community Connect. Social Work majors served as guides to customers, graduate students in the Speech-Language Pathology program provided speech and hearing screenings, and nursing students facilitated the health care aspects of the event.
Project Community Connect served as a "one-stop shop" for individuals and families who are homeless or in need, and featured medical and dental exams, hair cuts, birth certificates and a variety of free wellness screenings.
"As a student greeter, Project Community Connect was a humbling experience," says Shantelle Rockman, a senior Social Work major. "You get the opportunity to give your undivided attention to the guests. Those few minutes may be a life-changing experience for everyone involved."
A significant number of people in Johnson County were impacted by Project Community Connect. There were approximately 530 volunteers and 490 individuals receiving services, including vitamins to last 3,898 months and nearly $10,000 worth of food and household products.
"Many students are not aware of the day-to-day life experiences for individuals living in poverty in Johnson County," says Jean Nuernberger, chair of the Department of Communication Disorders and Social Work.
UCM students and faculty volunteers are learning to a greater degree by serving those in need in Johnson County.
UCM Student Creates Sustainability Program, Improves Lives of Incarcerated Populations
As an Environmental Studies graduate student at the University of Central Missouri, Hannah Rogers is no stranger to research. When tasked with creating a research project for her master's degree, she proposed a unique project to the Missouri Department of Corrections.
After meetings with the directors, Rogers was granted the ability to administer two 12-week environmental education programs to two groups of 25 incarcerated individuals at a medium-security state correctional center.
"My passion is the care and concern for the natural environment, but my interests lie in the U.S. correctional system, so this was perfect for me," says Rogers.
Rogers provides each inmate who completes her course with a composting certificate from UCM and a letter of support from the Department of Natural Resources. She also helps them construct their résumés and writes each a personal recommendation letter.
"This program is a great outlet for them," says Rogers. "It allows them to take responsibility and care for another living organism."
Rogers' program focuses on planning, constructing and managing composting systems, as well as analyzing the systems' data.
"I absolutely love being there," says Rogers. "Seeing them actively participate in and care about this program is amazing. I am thankful to help make a difference in their lives."
By sharing her interests and making a difference, Rogers is learning to a greater degree.
Wheelchair Race Changes the Viewpoint for Students, Faculty
We've all seen the "elevator out of service" emails. What most of us don't realize when we read those emails is that someone unwillingly doesn’t get the opportunity to attend class that day.
The Association of Social Work Students organized the Wheelchair Challenge to raise awareness and funds; $1,610 was raised to support accessibility improvements on campus.
Eighteen able-bodied students and professors learned first-hand how difficult maneuvering in a wheelchair is. They gained this outlook by participating in a series of campus challenges, while remaining in a wheelchair.
"Our ultimate goal was for others to gain perspective of being in a wheelchair and what difficulties students encounter," says Shantelle Rockman, a UCM student and member of ASWS who helped coordinate the challenge.
The University of Central Missouri meets all of the American Disability Act’s Standards for Accessible Design. These standards ensure individuals are able to access public facilities. Still, students learned what a big challenge minor bumps and detours can be.
"My biggest challenge was getting in and out of all of the doors because not all of the doors had the handicap buttons and some of them didn't work well," says Kelly Jameson, a freshman Actuarial Science major.
Students and professors gained a new perspective and experienced learning to a greater degree by putting themselves in someone else's shoes.
Future English as a Second Language Teacher Gains Worldly Perspective
Junior Political Science major Lucas Woodling traveled to Taiwan to take part in an eight-week Chinese language study program known as TUSA, the Taiwan-United States Sister Alliance.
Woodling was one of only 40 American students selected for TUSA and received a full scholarship to cover his expenses. Throughout the program, he took Chinese language and culture classes and student taught at an English immersion school.
"I've always wanted to teach English to students in Asia, so this was the perfect opportunity for me," says Woodling.
Informed about the program by Associate Professor of Political Science Darlene Budd, Woodling jumped at the opportunity to immerse himself in the Asian culture and language.
"During my trip, I wanted to expand my knowledge of the Chinese language and experience a culture different than ours," says Woodling.
When not in class or teaching, Woodling participated in weekend tours around the island and experienced historically and culturally important monuments, such as the Fo Guang Shan temple in Kaohsiung.
"Learning a language in class is one thing, but being completely immersed in it is another," Woodling remarks. "I had to learn on the go and adapt my language skills quickly while speaking to others in the community."
By immersing himself in a foreign culture and gaining a worldly perspective, Woodling experienced learning to a greater degree.
Chasing a Dream Results in a Racing Championship
UCM Automotive Technology Management students recently watched a dream come true at a dirt race car track north of Warrensburg.
The students, all members of the student chapter of the Society of Automotive Engineers, built a B-modified stock race car from scratch.
Local stock car driver Dean Wille, a program alumnus, assisted with finding the frame and parts for the car. He also shared his expertise and taught them the value of developing relationships with sponsors. However, his greatest contribution was the one thing needed most - a driver.
Wille drove the car during the 2013 season with a respectable showing. Mechanical failures provided the student pit crew with opportunities to apply their skills.
With the reopening of the Central Missouri Speedway in May 2014, Wille was able to bring the car home. The culmination of two years of hard work, lessons learned and partnerships resulted in Wille and the SAE race car receiving the 2014 track season championship for the B-modified class.
"This has been the greatest challenge we've faced in our college careers," says Ryan Craig, president of the SAE chapter. "We've kept the team together, and we've realized our dream. We've learned to keep going and don't look back."
Students in the Automotive Technology Management program are learning to a greater degree through the SAE Racing Team.
Newly Renovated Food Lab Enhances Students' Learning Experience
UCM students in the Dietetics, Hotel and Restaurant Management, and Family and Consumer Science programs returned to class this fall to discover a state-of-the-art learning facility for food-prep and experimental foods classes.
The Department of Nutrition and Kinesiology completed a $443,000 remodel of its food lab. The three-month renovation project includes new floors, cabinets, countertops and more student workspace and new appliances.
"The biggest difference is the feeling of being in this new class environment," says senior Dietetics student Jonna Palmer. "Before, I felt like I was in an apartment kitchen. Now, the equipment is uniform and industrial, similar to what you would find in the workforce."
By adding an additional workstation, classroom space became more efficient. The extra station allows more students to gain hands-on learning experience at one time, rather than observing others.
Within the next few years, the program plans to renovate the dining area and the quantity foods kitchen. By updating these areas, students will be working in an environment that will closely resemble working in industry.
"We're excited to provide our students with this opportunity and are confident that it will translate into a more productive and engaged-learning experience," says Michael Godard, chair of the Department of Nutrition and Kinesiology.
Students in the Dietetics program are learning to a greater degree by gaining hands-on experience in the newly renovated food lab.
Criminal Justice Team's Hands-On Competition is a Win-Win
Ask UCM Lambda Alpha Epsilon Chapter Advisor Gregg Etter how the chapter keeps winning national championships, and you’ll see a smile come across his face. He’ll reply, "It's the academic strength of our student body and the entire Criminal Justice department."
In March 2014, UCM LAE won their 12th consecutive "Sweepstakes Award" at the 77th National Conference. The categories vary from academic testing to crime scene investigating, firearms and physical agility to academic paper competition. Students prepare for regionals as soon as classes begin. Regionals are held in October and the national conference is held in early spring. Students on the team participate in study sessions two to three times a week and a session at the firing range.
After observing the physical training test at the last competition, a competitor's advisor told Etter the UCM team made the test, "The most awe-inspiring team-building exercise ever seen."
Additionally, students gain comradery through volunteer opportunities. Students are winning trophies, experiencing hands-on learning and obtaining employment after graduation.
"LAE gives students hands-on skills and real-world knowledge to help them transition from school into careers," says Chapter President Ryan Kanoy. "Its goal is to prepare members for futures in all areas of criminal justice."
By participating in competitions incorporating hands-on experience, the LAE chapter is learning to a greater degree.
GM Donation Enhances Automotive Technology Program
The University of Central Missouri’s Automotive Technology Management program has an addition this fall - a new Chevrolet Malibu.
Presented as an idea nearly two years ago by UCM Automotive Technology Professor Scott Wilson at an Industrial Advisory Board meeting, the new Malibu, donated by General Motors' Fairfax Assembly Plant in Kansas, will become a major element of the Automotive Technology Management curriculum.
"Our program is the only one of its kind in the state of Missouri and one of only 20 such programs in the country," says Wilson. "This generous donation from GM will allow our program to keep up with the latest automotive technologies and continue to provide our students with the hands-on opportunities they need to succeed."
Key features on the Malibu will offer students the chance to study new topics, such as advanced troubleshooting, powertrain elements and gasoline direct injection.
"We rely heavily on technology in our classes and connect computers to our vehicles for hands-on learning experiences," says senior Ryan Craig. "The Malibu has advanced technologies that will take our classes and our knowledge to the next level."
By leveraging this generous donation, UCM's Automotive Technology Management Program is providing practical, hands-on experience to its students. Here, students experience learning to a greater degree.
Lutz Gets Rare Inside Look at Auto Racing as "Fan Reporter"
For a student who hopes to work in the automotive racing industry, Brooklyn Lutz had the opportunity of a lifetime this summer. The UCM senior public relations major from Yorkton, Saskatchewan, Canada, was selected as a "Fan Reporter" by ZF Motorsports during the Tudor United SportsCar Championship in June at Watkins Glen International in New York.
Lutz learned about the opportunity through Adam Horn, one of her UCM PR professors who also works for ZF Motorsports. To be chosen, she submitted a question that she got to ask Andy Lally, driver of #44 Magnus Racing Porsche, during an interview for the Motor Racing Network. She also met several other individuals who work in auto racing and the auto PR industry, as well as actor/driver Patrick Dempsey and the entire Porsche North American race team.
"I learned so much from this amazing experience," says Lutz, who is president of the UCM Student Public Relations Society of America. "I had the opportunity to speak with a former PR director of NASCAR, and she gave me some really good advice on how to make it in the auto racing industry."
Combined with hands-on PR learning opportunities at UCM, Lutz has fueled her interest in auto racing public relations while experiencing learning to a greater degree.
UCM Class Project Brings Food to Children in Need
In 2010, 10 UCM students recognized a need to provide young children in Johnson County with food on the weekends. They established the Early Childhood Hunger Operation, which continues to provide backpacks filled with food, family materials and occasionally over-the-counter medicines to more than 100 preschool children in Warrensburg each week.
Developed as part of a social work and entrepreneurship class, ECHO challenged these students to strategically research, plan and implement a sustainable social enterprise in less than six weeks.
"ECHO helped me understand the preparation needed for creating a business venture and what it would take to keep such a worthy cause going," says Sarah Williams, UCM Social Work alumna.
For these students, creating and working for ECHO was a successful, one-of-a-kind achievement, but as it grew into a strong sustainable entity, additional help became necessary. In 2013, Jamie Grohe stepped on board as ECHO's part-time director.
"Accepting a permanent position with ECHO was a wonderful decision," says Grohe. "Each day I go into work knowing that helping provide this small need will make a big difference."
Now an established program, ECHO is housed in the UCM StartUp Center and has delivered weekly backpacks to more than 120 families for four years.
Through ECHO, UCM students leveraged an engaged learning experience to serve the community and continue learning to a greater degree.
Vansell Selected to Lead National Campus Public Safety
After 30 years of service at UCM, Director of Public Safety and Chief of Police Kim Vansell has been selected from more than 800 applicants as the inaugural Director of the National Center for Campus Public Safety. Based in Burlington, Vermont, the center serves as a key resource for public safety officials on college campuses across the United States.
There are unique challenges in campus policing — Vansell approaches campus safety from an educational perspective, focusing on helping students make good decisions in college.
"Chief Vansell has provided outstanding leadership for UCM," says Shari Bax, vice provost for student experience and engagement. "Her deep expertise and unswerving commitment will serve the center well."
Vansell began her career in public safety at UCM, then CMSU, as a student majoring in Criminal Justice Administration. She was hired by Public Safety as a dispatcher, and soon advanced to police officer. She has also worked with community groups on prevention of substance abuse and sexual assault.
"All the things I've been involved in, including grants, prevention of violence against women, risk management and substance abuse prevention, has developed me and prepared me for this job," says Vansell, "I can't wait to talk to folks on a national level."
As an advocate for national campus safety, Vansell demonstrates learning to a greater degree.
UCM Alumna Contributes to Golden Globe, Oscar Wins for Frozen
Kristin Yadamec, a 2002 UCM alumna, worked on the animation and production of the Oscar- and Golden Globe-winning film Frozen. The film won an Oscar and Golden Globe for Best Animated Feature Film.
"Winning both awards was spectacular," says Yadamec. "Every movie you work on, you pour your blood, sweat and tears into it, and hope the industry recognizes it. Frozen is special, and we felt that while working on it."
Yadamec, who has her Theatre Education degree from UCM, was the production supervisor for technical animation and crowds for the film, and was responsible for the scheduling, morale and working with other supervisors to ensure the creative integrity.
Her degree and a friendship gained during Yadamec's time as an undergraduate, helped her land the job as production assistant at Disney Animation Studios in 2006. Since then she has helped with the production of Disney Animation Films such as Bolt, Tangled, Wreck It Ralph and more.
"The UCM Theatre Department supported me and gave me the experiences that helped get me to where I am today," says Yadamec."The professors fostered an amazing environment of opportunities and growth."
By using her education and experiences at UCM to pursue her dreams at Disney Animation Studios, Yadamec continues learning to a greater degree.
Future-Focused Music Professor Gets Googley-Eyed
Scott Lubaroff, professor of music and director of bands, is participating in the Google Glass Explorer Program and is collaborating with others to improve higher education through technology.
"I'm trying to develop applications for Google Glass in music instruction, specifically conducting," says Lubaroff. "I've made contact with a software developer in hopes that we could collaborate to develop an app.
Google Glass is a new technology that appears to be an ordinary pair of glasses, but comes equipped with a built in heads-up display in the right eyepiece. Users of the glasses can give voice commands to take and share photos, get directions and stream live video.
"I've used Google Glass in one of my undergraduate conducting classes," says Lubaroff. "Primarily to take video, which is neat because students get to see what I see from my perspective while conducting."
Currently, Google Glass costs $1,500 and candidates must be selected to participate in the program. The program's purpose is to find more uses and applications for the technology through various research.
"I think it presents some exciting opportunities to deliver instruction in the classroom in more innovative ways," says Lubaroff. "This may open up new possibilities for teaching in all disciplines."
By interacting with cutting-edge technology in their music courses, Lubaroff's students experience learning to a greater degree.
The Talking Mules win 12th Montgomery Cup in the United Kingdom
The Talking Mules speech and debate team traveled to the United Kingdom for a two-week competition where they won the Montgomery Cup for the 12th time.
Six UCM students were led by coaches, Jack Rogers, director of forensics, and Nikki Freeman, associate director of forensics. They traveled around the U.K., competing against teams from England, Ireland and Scotland.
"What allows us to continue winning is the strong leadership from our coaches," says Samantha Begley, a junior Political Science and French major. "Spending time with five other debaters and our coaches created a close-knit team that was hard to beat."
Begley highlighted the fun the team had sightseeing, visiting Inverness and taking a boat ride across the Loch Ness.
Seventeen years ago, Rogers and Trevor Sather, a former debate's convenor for the English speaking union, created the Montgomery Cup as an international debate competition. Rogers explained the Talking Mules' wins could be accredited to the hard work of the students, his 30 years of experience and the support of the UCM faculty and community.
"Our UCM students are blessed to get to compete at an international level," says Rogers. "These high-impact learning opportunities allow the students to experience new styles of debate and different cultures."
By competing overseas and gaining worldly perspective, the Talking Mules are learning to a greater degree.
Tony Monetti Receives Learning to a Greater Degree Award for Commitment to Aviation Department
Tony Monetti was hired as the assistant dean of aviation in August 2012. The first thing he did was create six foundational core values for the department, hired field-expert faculty members and began fostering relationships on and off campus.
"The key to success is helping others succeed," says Monetti. "It's not about you. It's about the students and your team."
It's Monetti's genuine personality and passion for the department that has led to its success and the success of its students. He leads by example and has inspired students to step up as program leaders as well.
"He truly cares about every student, and he is always at the service of others to make sure he's doing everything he can to create a culture that reflects his service and that of the department's," says John Ellis, the graduate assistant in the Department of Aviation.
Monetti uses every possible resource to help the department achieve its full potential. By using expertise gained from his experiences as a private pilot, local business owner and B2 bomber in the U.S. Air Force, he teaches students what skills are most important when looking for employment.
By inspiring and encouraging others through his enthusiasm for UCM aviation, Monetti, his students and his team are learning to a greater degree.
Future Teacher Recognized with Learning to a Greater Degree Award
Growing up volunteering and being active in her church, senior Elementary and Early Childhood Education major Kelsey Kidd knew the world was much bigger than her community. This spring, Kidd was recognized as a recipient of the Learning to a Greater Degree Award.
In the nominations Kidd received for the award, the nominators highlighted her service, listing her numerous leadership positions and memberships in organizations on and off campus. Kidd believes in volunteering, because it not only benefits the organization, but it also helps her to learn about herself.
Kidd broadened her perspective and gave back during her Jamaican study tour. She went to Petersville, Jamaica with six fellow UCM students and associate professor of educational foundations and literacy Karen Foster to teach the community children about other countries. At night, they went on staff outings and participated in activities with local residents.
"We saw the difference between living in Jamaica and being a tourist," Kidd says. "We interacted with the locals and saw the local culture."
Kidd took advantage of the traveling abroad opportunities offered at UCM through her major. She went to Sweden with her World Diversity class to learn about its education structure. "I want to take more than a trip. I want to actually live the culture," Kidd says.
Through her volunteerism, practical hands-on learning and travel, Kidd is learning to a greater degree.
UCM Alumni Help Bring Largest Capital Project to Life
McCownGordon Senior Superintendent Freddy Allison and AT Industries Inc. Health and Safety Coordinator Scott Gebken have returned to their alma mater to begin construction of The Crossing — South at Holden, the university’s new mixed-use facility, which will feature a Starbucks, SPIN! Neapolitan Pizza, the University Store and apartments for 325 upper-class students.
When assigned leadership positions on the project, Allison and Gebken saw it as a great opportunity to give back by using the skills they gained at UCM.
"I'm excited to be using my knowledge to help make UCM as safe as possible during the demolition phase of this project," says Gebken. "It's my way of giving back and thanking UCM for everything they’ve given me."
For these alumni, working on The Crossing — South at Holden is exciting, but managing more than 150 on-site tradesmen, coordinating materials and keeping everything on schedule is challenging. They focus on the positives — being outside, facing new tasks everyday and most importantly, working with UCM.
"I feel extremely honored to be a part of this project," says Allison. "I remember touring the library as a student during its construction, and now I'll have the chance to give current students tours of the building I'm actually working on."
By using their skills to support the university, Allison and Gebken are continuing learning to a greater degree.
Mock Trial Team Wins Academic Championship
The University of Central Missouri Mock Trial team participated in a regional competition in Kansas City, Mo., where they tied for first place. Even more impressive is that they demonstrated such flawless knowledge of the legal system that one of the judges, a practicing attorney, thought they were already in law school.
To succeed in competitions, the students must be legal scholars, actors and exceptional public speakers. Each year, a new hypothetical case is given to all teams, who then prepare to compete.
Team members who play witnesses can earn points with their acting prowess, by creating and staying in character. Team members who play attorneys are judged on their professionalism, decorum and their knowledge of the rules of evidence.
The competition is tough. UCM’s team competes against teams from Division I programs that have the support of law schools.
Adam Sommer, the coach of the team and a local attorney, focuses on teaching his students how actual courtrooms operate and how to succeed in law school and the professional realm.
"Adam taught us how to do real life trial," says Alana Caruso, a junior Political Science major. "We tailor that experience to win mock trial tournaments, and that's why we're doing so well."
By using real world-knowledge to become tournament champions, UCM Mock Trial is learning to a greater degree.
"Sportspage" Provides Students More Than Weekly Highlights
Turn on "Sportspage," KMOS-TV's weekly show on UCM Athletics, at 7 p.m. Thursday or 5 p.m. Saturday and you may be watching future sports broadcasters.
When former anchor Shawn Jones accepted the Henderson State University athletic director position, KMOS-TV, UCM Athletics and the Department of Communications and Sociology partnered to provide an opportunity for students. The new format features UCM students as anchors and sideline reporters, interviewing players and coaches.
This season, students Devin Negrete and Alex Greenlee are the co-anchors and Katie Bailey and Briana Blocker report on the sidelines. Students receive academic credit for their work on the show.
"President Ambrose, faculty and staff felt this would be an opportunity to bring engaged learning to students," says Joe Moore, professor of communications and "Sportspage" faculty advisor.
Greenlee, a senior Digital Media Production major, sees "Sportspage" growing interest with viewers and students.
"The show will stay fresh with viewers while students reinforce their skills," Greenlee says.
Negrete, a senior Digital Media Production major, is grateful for the opportunity. The on-the-field experience helped her realize her dream career is sports broadcasting.
"This is what's great about UCM," says Negrete. "I'm doing what I love!"
"Sportspage" is providing more than weekly game highlights to viewers. It's providing students practical, hands-on experience; they're learning to a greater degree.
Student Leads Organization Founded on Carnegie Principles
Shea Holland is earning her master’s degree in Mass Communication and has the honor of being President of the first chapter of the Dale Carnegie Honors Society in the nation.
The DCHS was formed when communication professor Jack Rogers approached Holland about starting a student group based on Carnegie principles. The society offers both business and social outlets, which form a great balance of professional development and social networking.
“The DCHS is dedicated to upholding the ideals Carnegie laid out in his book, How to Win Friends and Influence People,” says Holland. “Our goal is to foster interpersonal communication skills in our members, which they can use in their careers.”
In addition to being the first President of DCHS, Holland is also an international board member for Caregians, Inc.
“This allows me to collaborate with them on a vision for how the society will grow and develop not just at UCM, but hopefully worldwide,” says Holland.
Holland recommends DCHS for those who wish to improve their social skill sets. Students interested in the DCHS should contact Jack Rogers.
“Carnegie’s principles truly have an impact on how we communicate and being a part of the society has provided me with confidence in effectively communicating,” says Holland.
By leading students in professional growth and development, Holland is learning to a greater degree.
UCM Alumnus Provides Opportunity for UCM Students to Promote Nonprofit Cause
UCM alumnus Ian Kuklenski co-founded the nonprofit Unlocked Furniture to provide desks to children worldwide. After earning degrees in Management and Finance, Kuklenski began working in factories abroad; his experiences overseas changed his perspective.
"My business partner, Doug VanderValk, and I were looking for new ways to stretch ourselves," says Kuklenski. "When Doug saw a picture of kids sitting in the dirt at school, we realized this was a need we could help fill."
Kuklenski reached out to his former marketing professor, Scott Smith, at UCM and his consumer behavior class to help raise funds in 40 days to help buy and ship desks to a school in China. The unique desks pack flat, and for each one purchased, one is donated.
The students were tasked with raising awareness to help meet the organization's goal. Their strategies had to be free with measurable results.
"I've been able to apply knowledge gained in class to develop a marketing plan," says Nick Brehe, senior Management major. "The best part about this project is that I get to help with this great cause."
By working with an alumnus to give other students around the world a better learning environment, Smith's consumer behavior class is learning to a greater degree.
Future-Focused CERT Training Prepares UCM Faculty and StaffTweet
UCM’s Emergency Response Coordinator Joe Jarboe conducted the first Campus Emergency Response Team training at UCM in January. The CERT team assists medical and emergency staff by helping victims during disastrous events.
"During a disaster, our campus population would immediately overwhelm the city of Warrensburg's emergency response capability," says Jarboe. "We would essentially be on our own. Having a team trained to protect themselves and assist others will have an immediate and positive impact."
UCM started trial CERT programs more than a year ago. After the first official training session, UCM has three CERT trainers, 30 trained staff and hopes to train at least 60 more in the next year and a half.
"The future is very bright for our teams," says Jarboe. "Our goal is to have at least four to eight staff and faculty members trained in each UCM building. We are scheduling additional training for advanced first aid, CPR and use of automatic external defibrillating devices."
Once a majority of staff and faculty are trained, Jarboe hopes to offer CERT training to students so they can make an impact in their communities. This could help tremendously if an event such as the tornado that struck Joplin, Mo., in 2011 were to occur locally.
By training for emergency situations to help others and save lives, UCM faculty and staff are learning to a greater degree.
Academic Responsibility Coaches Advocate Student SuccessTweet
UCM's new peer mentor program pairs students who need extra academic guidance with students known as Academic Responsibility Coaches. The Office of Mentoring, Advocacy and Peer Support refers students to the Academic Responsibility Coaches who meet with those students to find out what help and resources they need.
Monique Jones, a senior Child and Family Development major, and Alyssa Clifton, a sophomore Digital Media Production major, are the first two ARCs on campus, and serve as both guides and confidants.
Jones recently met with a student who was struggling to attend class consistently. She helped him schedule out each day by using a planner, put him in touch with tutors for subjects he was worried about and showed him where to find his professors' contact information online.
"I want to see what their goals are," says Clifton. "Most students are excited to have someone to confide in."
The main advantage of the program is the peer support; struggling students can feel at ease speaking to someone their own age. The program is in its pilot semester, but by next semester the goal is to have at least two ARCs in each residence hall, as well as ARC hosted office hours in the Student Success Center.
By being advocates for success, Academic Responsibility Coaches are helping all students discover learning to a greater degree.
Paradox Sports Visits UCM to Teach Adaptability to StudentsTweet
The Office of Student Activities is bringing Pete Davis, Tim and Sean O'Neill to campus to demonstrate to students how to overcome obstacles and challenges they may face in life.
Davis and the O'Neill brothers are professional rock climbers who founded Paradox Sports, an organization dedicated to teaching adaptive outdoor sports.
"This event will help students realize that everyone faces challenges they must overcome," says Darius Schnieders, a UCM senior and student worker at the Student Recreation and Wellness Center. "The Summit Experience will encourage climbers and non-climbers to overcome obstacles they didn't think were possible."
The Paradox Sports founders will host the Summit Experience presentation at 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 21 in the Student Recreation and Wellness Center. Their presentation will focus on adaptability, community and perseverance. On Saturday, local universities and climbing groups will travel to UCM to receive adaptive climbing training.
"Paradox doesn't just focus on adaptive rock climbing, but many other outdoor pursuits, and because of this training coming to UCM, we'll be able to offer more inclusive outdoor programs for students in the future," says Mike Busekrus, coordinator of outdoor and experiential leadership at UCM.
Students who attend the Summit Experience and gain perspective on overcoming life's challenges are learning to a greater degree.
Students, Faculty and Staff Collaborate to Bring Unity to UCMTweet
UCM will unite to build awareness and celebrate diversity with the entire campus Feb. 17-21.
"I hope students walk away being educated about diversity," says Natalie Fajardo, graduate assistant for the Office of Student Activities and the committee chair. "It's about learning what diversity means to them, the campus and allowing them to express what they've learned. It's a collaborative effort. One can’t do it alone."
Last year was the inaugural year for Unity Week. When planning this year, the committee brought back events based on feedback and added events based on student requests.
This year's Tunnel of Oppression will feature rooms focusing on issues such as body image, power and privilege, and civil rights. The schedule features events that appeal to the entire campus such as a lecture, a karaoke night and a carnival. The Office of Student Activities and the multicultural committee are sponsoring the week.
Unity Week had an effect on several students and faculty. "I worked in the body image room all day last year, so Unity Week impacted me by bringing me closer to my peers who extended their hand asking for my help," says Lacey Hites, a graduate assistant studying College Student Personnel Administration.
By broadening their perspective through Unity Week, UCM students experience learning to a greater degree.
Business Students Gain Significant Advantage with Bloomberg Software
The Harmon College of Business and Professional Studies now has 12 computer terminals with the Bloomberg Professional service installed, which allows entire classes to conduct financial and economic research. UCM is one of only two public universities in Missouri that has 12 Bloomberg terminals, and the students here are putting that advantage to good use.
The student-managed investment fund class established in cooperation with the UCM Foundation will be using Bloomberg to research and evaluate companies they wish to include in their stock portfolio.
"The Bloomberg software has extensive information about every security, sector, trade, company and market, as well as the ability to pull financial news from major international news sources," says Mohit Srivastava, a graduate student in the investment fund class. "I feel honored and privileged to have the opportunity to gain such real-world experience. I urge every finance or business major to utilize such a phenomenal resource."
According to Economics, Finance and Marketing Chair Jose Mercado, Bloomberg is the top source for financial information and news. "To select the best companies, students need the best information in the business," he adds.
By using Bloomberg software to get up-to-the-minute financial and economic information, UCM business students are learning to a greater degree.
SAFE Team Provides Valuable Experience, Supports Student Safety
Jacob Prindle is a three-year member of the Student Assistant Foot Patrol and Escort Team for the Department of Public Safety. Combining this job with a Criminal Justice major is valuable experience for his future.
The SAFE Team is a group of 12 student workers who ensure the safety of the campus and its students by patrolling the campus at night. Their main priority is to provide escorts to students in need; they also secure buildings, maintain emergency communication systems and assist UCM police officers.
"The experience I've gained here is a great start to my law enforcement career and will help me after I graduate," says Prindle, whose father served on the SAFE Team's predecessor, the Mule Patrol.
Although Prindle is not technically a law enforcement official, he believes in the impact SAFE Team has on campus and his future career.
"Our presence helps deter criminal activity that might otherwise take place if we were not there," says Prindle. "We make the campus a safer place every year."
SAFE Team escorts are available for students Monday through Friday during the academic year from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. and later on weekends. To request a SAFE Team escort, call 660-543-4123.
By gaining law enforcement experience and serving the campus while studying criminal justice, Prindle is learning to a greater degree.
UCM Presents Competition to Link Student Entrepreneurs with Investors
If you have seen the ABC show Shark Tank, you understand the importance of perfecting your business pitch. What you say and do in those moments, in front of your potential investors, can make or break your company.
On Nov. 14, UCM hosted its first Bright Fest Competition, an event that gave student entrepreneurs the opportunity to pitch and earn investments for their innovative concepts. The event was collaboration among Enactus, the Small Business Technology and Development Center, the UCM Foundation, Evisthrive and students Hunter Hoyer and Cassandra Davison.
Student participants gave investors a seven-minute presentation of their idea. These scores were tallied and announced at the second part of the event where students had 90 seconds to pitch their ideas to the public.
"The event was such a success thanks to the UCM students, faculty and community," says Davison, a senior Marketing major. "Without their support, the student entrepreneurs would not have had the opportunity to share their 'bright' ideas."
The winner, Ethan Yeates, presented his idea to connect prisoners to their loved ones using current technology, such as Skype. This would allow the inmates to stay connected with the outside world while providing safer and more private means of interacting.
By collaborating and pitching business concepts, UCM students are learning to a greater degree.
Waste Analysis Project Promotes Sustainability, Students as Agents of Change
Professor Matthew VanSchenkhof and the Sustainability Operations Management class are changing ideas about trash. The class worked to discover cost-effective and environmentally friendly waste management strategies. During the fall 2013 semester, the class specifically focused on a waste analysis project.
"The first day, 100 percent of the students stated they didn’t care about solid waste," says VanSchenkhof. "They separated eight bags of trash from Ward Edwards and Dockery that day. Their amazement at how much of the material in the bags is recyclable, I think, really hit home."
The curriculum focuses on issues of sustainability in a wide variety of topics including government and gardening, issues that are outside the norm of "going green."
"The class is unique because it does not provide answers to these problems, it encourages students to develop their own solutions and critique existing ones," says Maria Frank, senior Business Management student.
In partnership with Fastenal, the class has placed 120 recycle bins on campus. Though the trash cans may not seem like much, they have made a tremendous impact.
"One of the missions is to move students from being a critical thinker into a change agent," says VanSchenkhof. "This class is designed to create a change agent, a person of action."
Positively impacting the environment for generations to come, the students in Sustainability Operations Management are learning to a greater degree.
UCM Community United in Support during the Holidays
Before Thanksgiving, the angel tree contained tags with Christmas wishes from 36 children of students and employees at UCM. Faculty, staff and even classes of students selected a tag or two from the tree and went shopping for the needs and wishes listed.
To ensure confidentiality, this program is run out of the Office of Human Resources by Michelle Taylor and Carla Underwood, who began it last year after being approached by the professional and support staff councils, and the Office of the President. Last year’s tree was a great success, which is continuing this year — all angels were adopted before Thanksgiving break.
"We are very fortunate that we get to see all the blessings," says Taylor. "Every family that came in last year was very thankful for the support."
Some people choose to make cash donations, and there have even been donations of wrapping paper, mittens and small toys that parents can pick up as stocking stuffers.
"I'm glad to know I'll be able to impact kids both in the classroom and at home," says Alexandria Martin, an Elementary Education major and gift donor. "This is a good thing to be a part of."
The angel tree program encourages a culture of service among the students and staff who exemplify of what learning to a greater degree means at UCM.
Powerful Approach to Service Learning Recognized with Learning to a Greater Degree Award
Wendy Geiger believes she has one of the best jobs in the world — being a professor in the Department of Communication and Sociology at UCM. This semester, Geiger was recognized for her impactful approach to teaching with the Learning to a Greater Degree Award.
"I just really feel honored to be one of the faces of this award," says Geiger, who was recognized at the November 2013 Board of Governors meeting.
In the two nominations Geiger received for the award, her nominators enumerated the many ways she goes above and beyond for students, including her participation in The Vagina Monologues, producing a cross-disciplinary project with the Department of Theatre and Dance and her contemporary communication class, and running the Oxfam Hunger Banquet for the past six years with her persuasion class.
"I was looking for a high-impact, service-learning project," says Geiger. "The Oxfam Hunger Banquet is a microcosm of how the world eats. The students' role is to persuade people to come and persuade people that hunger is an issue."
This past year, Geiger partnered with Sodexo to increase the fundraising she and her students were able to do for Oxfam, resulting in nearly $10,000 donated to fight hunger locally and nationally.
By engaging in collaborative service-learning projects, Geiger’s students experience learning to a greater degree.
Learning to a Greater Degree Award Winner Combines Passions to Change Lives
As a future middle school teacher, Samantha Behlman is dedicated to raise awareness about bullying prevention and practice effective intervention methods. At the November 2013 Board of Governors meeting, Behlman was awarded the Learning to a Greater Degree Award.
Behlman's sister suffered from bullying in school. Because of this personal experience, she wanted to prevent bullying and promote positive school environments in her future work setting.
"It is my hope that through prevention, education and intervention we can end bullying, so no one has to experience what my sister did, at any age in their lives," says Behlman.
Behlman created two bullying prevention models, which will give future educators a resource to encourage intervention in a bullying situation.
Behlman tackles the issue at the elementary through college levels. Recently, she taught 75 middle school students the skills to intervene in safe and effective ways when dealing with a bully. At the college intervention level, she founded a student group called Encouraging Positive Interventions on Campus, which is known as the EPIC Educators.
By using her personal passion for bully prevention and incorporating it into her professional life, Behlman is learning to a greater degree.
University Play Therapy Room Offers Students Real-World Experience
After receiving an undergraduate degree from UCM in Criminal Justice, with a minor in Psychology, Tricia Theiss decided to return to school. UCM's master's program in Counselor Education was the route she chose to follow.
"I wanted to find a career in which I could help individuals on a more personal level," says Theiss. "I chose UCM because of the numerous opportunities and uniqueness of the counseling program."
One of these opportunities is UCM's play therapy room. The play therapy room is equipped with developmentally appropriate toys for children to use to communicate with the student counselor. This way, the counselor can gain insight into the child's world and determine where he or she may need help.
The play therapy room is available for children at the Foster Knox Child Care Center. This stimulation opportunity is provided at no additional cost to the family.
This experience has helped Theiss by providing her with real-world experience. She remembers her first time in UCM's play therapy room.
"I was nervous because I lacked experience," says Theiss. "Because I was able to practice the techniques we learned in class, I began to feel more comfortable and develop my own style in the play room."
By taking in-class theory and applying it to children in the Warrensburg community, Theiss is learning to a greater degree.
Professor and Student Receive Foundation Grant to Conduct Fresh Research
Scientists who want to study proteins need efficient methods to make them. Jay Steinkruger and Ashley Chapman are testing a hypothesis that aims to improve upon an existing method for making small protein segments here at the University of Central Missouri.
Steinkruger, a professor in the Department of Biochemistry, Chemistry and Physics, recently received funding for undergraduate research through a UCM Foundation Opportunity Grant. The funding is being used to purchase chemicals and consumable supplies needed for experiments he is conducting with Chapman, a senior chemistry student.
"For us here in the chemistry department, a major focus is trying to get undergraduate students involved in independent research projects," says Steinkruger. "We're putting the grant funding to good use to give students a taste of what doing experimental science for a living is like."
The independent research projects empower students to investigate questions beyond those that come up in their required science laboratory courses.
The project has provided some valuable opportunities for Chapman, including access to and use of brand new laboratory equipment purchased by the university. Upon graduation, Chapman says she would like to continue to do scientific research and is considering attending graduate school.
By receiving support from faculty and the UCM Foundation to conduct cutting-edge research, Chapman is experiencing learning to a greater degree.
UCM Students Compete for Social Justice
Emily Elfrink, a sophomore Biology major, excels in more than science. She is a finalist from this past spring's Social Justice Speech Competition, a supplemental program within UCM's public speaking classes.
Since the program's inception in fall 2012, public speaking instructor Carli Wrisinger believes the speeches have benefited students. The speeches have influenced more than 300 students with an average of 17 participating classes each semester.
"It's not about convincing the listeners to share your viewpoint," says Elfrink. "It's about giving them the necessary information to form their own opinion."
The competition consists of three rounds, spanning six weeks. The initial speech takes the place of the informative speech from the standard curriculum and top-performing students are elected from each class. During the second round, class representatives are assigned to groups and video speech submissions are judged. The top five students then present their speeches during the final round and can win monetary prizes based on their performance.
"I like seeing the enthusiasm some of the students have about their topics," says Wrisinger. "It is encouraging to think that students can move forward with that zeal to make a difference."
This semester’s final speeches will be presented at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 12 at the James C. Kirkpatrick Library Performance Corner.
By competing for more than a trophy, Elfrink experienced learning to a greater degree.
UCM Department of Theatre and Dance Chosen to Perform Internationally
The University of Central Missouri's Department of Theatre and Dance is one of eight institutions selected to attend the largest arts festival in the world next fall in Edinburgh, Scotland.
A group of 13 students from a variety of majors were selected through an auditions process to go on the 12-day trip to Scotland. Ashley Miller, assistant professor of theatre, submitted the festival application, which included the size of the department, production history, honors and awards, how many students would attend, and what type of show the group would perform.
"I applied for the festival because it will give students the skills in devising and creating their own work, how to market themselves, fund a production, tour a production, and the opportunity to network and make international connections," says Miller.
The festival brings together 25,000 performers who will exhibit an array of shows such as theatre, comedy, dance, physical theatre and more. The performances take place across several stages in Edinburgh.
"I'm excited to participate in an international festival where I'll experience diversity in the arts from different cultures," says Nellie Maple, a sophomore Theatre and Performance major from Raymore-Peculiar, Mo.
Miller and the students selected to attend the international festival will gain a global perspective while learning to a greater degree.
Students Host Haunted Tours of Yeater Hall, Collect Canned Goods for Campus
Most students who attend the University of Central Missouri have heard some version of the rumors about the paranormal activity on the third floor of Yeater Hall.
Every year around Halloween, the South Todd Yeater Hall Council hosts the haunted tours of Yeater Hall to teach students about the residence hall’s history and share the ghost stories that have been passed down through the years.
By hosting the tours, the committee's goal is to give back to the community by collecting canned food items from students as admission. Last year, more than 1,500 canned goods were donated. This year, the donations will go to the new on-campus food pantry, the Campus Cupboard.
"The council feels spectacular knowing the cans collected go to people on campus," says Alexis Rosenthal, vice president of the South Todd Yeater Hall Council. "We really try to create a sense of community and belonging in our hall council, so we do that by giving back to our peers."
The committee of seven students plans, organizes and hosts the haunted tours. Each tour begins in the basement of Yeater Hall. Then, students are taken to the infamous third floor to hear its ghost stories. Tours are hosted from 7:30-11 p.m. Oct. 29-31.
By serving the community and providing students with an alternative Halloween activity, the South Todd Yeater Hall Council is learning to greater degree.
Students Explore, Learn About Cultural Diversity
This fall, Spotlight's Ideas and Issues committee collaborated with Queers and Allies and the Office of Mentoring, Advocacy and Peer Support to create the Royal Blush Drag Show to teach UCM students and the Warrensburg community about drag culture and its history. Performing in the show were four local and four professional drag queens. One performer was D'Rhianna Weather B.
D'Rhianna Weather B was born Sept. 27, 2012. She was the culmination of Diallo Simms' dream to entertain and UCM student Kalob Cunningham's ambition of becoming a personal assistant and stylist to celebrities.
"We met freshman year, living in the Theatre SHIP," recalls Cunningham. Later, Cunningham convinced his friend Simms to perform as a drag queen at an AIDS benefit in Kansas City, Mo. D'Rhianna Weather B became an extension of Simms and Cunningham, driving them to push boundaries and explore the world of drag, including for the performance at UCM.
"Most shocking to our audience was that there is a definitive line between a drag queen and a cross dresser," says Simms. "I really like that it was on the UCM campus because it provided students under the age of 21 the opportunity to see the show and experience something that they wouldn't normally."
By exploring cultural diversity such as drag, Simms and Cunningham are learning to a greater degree.
Students Gain Perspective Volunteering in Poland
Senior Psychology major Megan Riff gained a worldly perspective this summer as she traveled to Poland for two weeks as a volunteer to teach English to elementary students in the city of Siedlce. Four other students and English language instructor Amy Jammeh traveled with Riff as part of UCM's Global Vision Endowment and Service Learning Program.
"I had two goals for this trip, form new friendships and connections, and gain a more worldly perspective and understanding through travel," says Riff. "My perspective of American culture was most affected by my experience. I was amazed to see how culturally aware the Polish children were at such young ages."
An anonymous UCM donor, the Warrensburg Rotary Club and Global Volunteers Organization helped fund the opportunity to develop students' international perspective. Riff not only felt the personal impact of the program but also witnessed how it benefitted others.
"Teaching English to children in non-English speaking countries can open doors for their futures," says Riff. "That alone is enough to volunteer."
The group traveled to Warsaw and Kotun as well as Auschwitz and Birkenau to see the impact of social injustice. These were just a few of the eye-opening experiences the student volunteers had during their travels.
By immersing herself in a foreign culture and gaining worldly knowledge, Riff experienced learning to a greater degree.
Entrepreneurial Student Begins Partnership with British Broadcasting Corp.
Amanda Roberts, an Entrepreneurial and Social Enterprise major, runs a successful local business called Geek Details. She gets ideas from television shows like Sherlock, Supernatural and Doctor Who, to create pin-back buttons, accessories and hilariously customized vintage china.
Roberts was at a convention selling her merchandise when she met actor Daphne Ashbrook, who played Dr. Grace Holloway on Doctor Who in 1996. Ashbrook was so enamored with Geek Details' charm that she worked with the production company, BBC, to license Roberts to create merchandise for her character. Ashbrook will sell that merchandise at future convention appearances.
"In my marketing classes, we talk about an authentic brand; the reason people like our stuff is because it feels like a fan made it," she says. TV shows such as Doctor Who are well known for having spirited, passionate fans who attend conventions to dress up as their favorite characters and occasionally, meet their heroes, providing a great market for Roberts' products.
Roberts has also been gaining notoriety on the Internet. Her products have been featured in a "Unique Gifts for Father's Day" guide in The Wall Street Journal, as well as on Buzzfeed and The Huffington Post. Everything she sells she makes by hand and features on the Geek Details blog and Amazon.
By applying business lessons to create a profitable partnership, Roberts is experiencing learning to a greater degree.
UCM Intern Performs in Top 2 Percent
Christian Loesing has taken advantage of hands-on leadership experiences at UCM such as Sigma Phi Epsilon, Inter-fraternity Council and the Integrated Business Experience class. Leveraging his work ethic and these experiences, Loesing has earned a ranking in the top 60 out of 2,500 interns in nationwide performance for Northwestern Mutual Financial Network.
"The skills, discipline and persistence I've developed through my positions at UCM have allowed me to take on the role of team captain in my internship," says Loesing. "I run weekly meetings, recruit and help new interns get on the path to success in this business."
Loesing is currently a College Financial Representative at Northwestern Mutual and has the same opportunities to build his career and income as the full-time representatives. His knowledge, passion for the industry and great support group has made him successful in finding financial solutions for clients.
"I've had the opportunity to work under some of the best financial representatives in the country," says Loesing. "My managing director, Jared Wirsig, has taken hours of his personal time to help mold me, not only as an intern, but as a professional."
Loseing hopes to own and operate his own practice with Northwestern Mutual after he graduates. While he lays the foundation for his career and finishes school, Loesing is learning to a greater degree.
UCM Student Volunteers on a National Stage
On July 24, 2013, the University of Central Missouri welcomed President Barack Obama to Warrensburg, Mo. Behind the scenes, UCM employees and volunteers, including staff and students, worked hard to make sure the event ran smoothly.
"It took a lot of people a lot of time and work to put it together," says Aryn Lessmeier, a graduate student in UCM's Department of Nutrition and Kinesiology, who volunteered at the event.
Lessmeier was working at the Student Recreation and Wellness Center during the summer, when her supervisor Beth Rutt asked if any employees would like to volunteer for an event. She decided to volunteer.
Before and during the event, Lessmeier worked the VIP line, provided water to those in need and verified allowed items for entry. "Working the event gave me a better idea of the different disabilities people may have," she remembers. "For example, we had to think about the heat and how it affects people differently."
Working the event also gave Lessmeier a look behind the scenes of a presidential visit. "It was really cool that the Secret Service officers were on campus a week early," says Lessmeier. "It takes a lot of work to put events like this together."
By using her skills to give back to the community, Lessmeier experienced learning to a greater degree.
Student Gains Experience at Mile-High Stadium
Last year, UCM student Danny Accola experienced a life in the gridiron as an intern with the Denver Broncos on the National Football League. The senior Athletic Training major worked with an outstanding staff and one of the most experienced trainers, Steve Antonopolus, who has been with the NFL for 38 seasons.
"The staff athletic trainers were very helpful and extremely knowledgeable, some of the greatest guys in the profession," says Accola. "Interning with the Denver Broncos was a very exciting experience that not many people get."
Accola assisted with hydration and injury treatments during practices, home games and away games. This well-rounded internship reassured Accola that he chose the right major.
"I wanted to help athletes perform to the best of their ability," says Accola. “It makes me feel good when I can help someone recover from an injury and get them back to game-playing status."
Two other UCM students also interned for the NFL. Dylan Wilson and Max Whitsell both worked for the Kansas City Chiefs. Accola will apply the knowledge he gained from the NFL to other sports.
"After graduate school, I would like to pursue a career as an athletic trainer in professional rodeo," says Accola. "I grew up in the rodeo world and would like to revisit those experiences."
Developing skills for his future career in an extremely competitive industry, Accola experienced learning to a greater degree.
Impact Retreat was a Once-in-a-Lifetime Experience with Presidential Visit
This year's Impact retreat was a one-of-a-kind experience for UCM freshmen. A record number of students attended the retreat, which allowed them to gain leadership skills and increase their confidence. Some students even became part of President Obama’s historic visit to UCM.
This year, attendees had a unique experience because this was the first year the retreat was held on campus. Incoming students got a jump start on their freshman year by experiencing residence hall life and attending informational and team-building sessions.
"I was able to meet other freshmen before I had to live on campus," says Megan O’Haver, a Communication Disorders major from Columbia, Mo. "I made a lot of new friends, which made the transition to college easier."
Not only did this year's Impact students get an enhanced learning experience, but they also had the unforgettable opportunity to sit behind President Obama as he addressed the nation on the economy and education.
"One of my favorite things about Impact was getting to see President Obama," says O’Haver. "I will never forget when he impersonated me. I had a wonderful time and will never forget any of it."
The incoming freshmen participated in engaged learning at the Impact retreat and got a jump-start on experiencing learning to a greater degree.
Student Broadens his World Through Summer Studies in Morocco
Justin Drouin has always been fascinated by the Middle East and its culture. This summer, he spent five weeks in Morocco studying Arabic and Islamic politics; it's a memory he says will last a lifetime.
Drouin received the prestigious Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, which provided him with $8,000 for his studies at the Moulay Ismail University in Meknes, Morocco.
"It was both scary and exciting," says Drouin, an International Studies major from Blue Springs, Mo. "Upon arriving in the airport it was so different. After a week or so I got pretty comfortable with it. Now, I want to go back there."
Arabic is considered a critical language need, and Drouin could not speak the language when he arrived, but five weeks later, he says he can read and write some and knows the entire alphabet. In addition to the language, he learned about modern Muslim society, which he says was different than he expected, and he experienced the holiday of Ramadan.
"It's definitely one of the most memorable things I have ever done in my life so far," says Drouin. "I have a greater respect toward their culture, traditions and religion."
Developing greater independence and an understanding of other cultures, Drouin experienced learning to a greater degree.
Haute Trash is a Treasured Learning Experience
UCM's annual Haute Trash Fashion Show encourages students and staff to live a more sustainable lifestyle. Last spring, students from various departments, including fashion and business, collaborated with faculty and staff to create a fashion show with outfits made entirely of recycled material.
"Nobody wants to sit through a boring lecture about how the world needs to recycle," says Nicole Forte, senior Fashion major. "Making clothes out of trash and recycled objects is fun, informational and creative."
Fashion merchandising instructor Melissa Abner and Donna Bodenhammer from the Office of Student Financial Services started the fashion show as a part of UCM's Earth Week from April 20-27. They supervised Forte and other students as they coordinated the event throughout the year.
"This is a campus-wide effort that lets people from different departments and programs use their skills in a unique way to get hands-on experience in a variety of fields," says Abner. "It also promotes involvement with the community."
Dedicated and enthusiastic students such as Forte will create successful shows in the future. "It would be awesome for the fashion students to collaborate with fraternities, sororities or other groups on campus to get even more students involved in the future," says Forte.
By managing an innovative event in her career field, Forte experienced learning to a greater degree.
UCM Students Manage a $500,000 Scholarship Fund
Beginning this semester, UCM students enrolled in the Student Managed Investment Fund course will enhance their résumés and gain real-world experience by managing a $500,000 scholarship fund entrusted to them by the UCM Foundation.
"It's a huge confidence vote in our students," says Jose Mercado, chair of the Department of Economics, Finance and Marketing. "We are confident that our students will do a great job."
Students enrolled in this hands-on course will have the support of Laurian Lytle and Arthur Young, both holders of the Chartered Financial Analyst charter. Students will also have access to the Bloomberg platform to facilitate their equity research process. Bloomberg is the preferred financial data portal used by investment professionals for fund management.
The class, offered each semester, will include graduate and undergraduate students of any major who have completed the required prerequisites and the application. This semester, seven graduate and three undergraduate students are enrolled in the course.
"They will be doing what professional analysts do in the real world," says Mercado. "It prepares students for future jobs and is an opportunity for UCM to attract motivated students and provide them with a first-class education."
In allowing students to manage a half-million-dollar scholarship fund, the UCM Foundation and Harmon College of Business and Professional Studies provide an engaging opportunity to take learning to a greater degree.
Student-Run Businesses Gain Real-World Experience
Business students at the University of Central Missouri have a distinct advantage over business students throughout the nation. The Integrative Business Experience brings together finance, accounting, marketing and management majors with one goal: create and run a successful business.
"You have a real product and real expenses. It's as close to real-world business as you can get," says Chris Meyer, junior marketing major and president of the IBE company Melodies for Miracles, which sold UCM earbuds and hosted a Battle of the Bands event this semester.
Junior marketing major Christian Loesing was VP of Operations for the IBE company Coasters 5000, which sold UCM-branded coasters. They pulled an IBE first by producing their product themselves.
"The biggest challenge has been logistics," Loesing says. "Setting up schedules and keeping everyone on the same page has been tough, but the entire process has been a great learning experience."
The companies donated a total of more than $10,000 to Warrensburg Parks and Recreation and the Survival House of Warrensburg.
"IBE throws you into the business world, so once you graduate, you have field knowledge, which is a big help moving forward," Meyer says.
By excelling beyond the classroom and doing work related to their majors, Loesing, Meyer and the rest of the students in IBE are learning to a greater degree.
Gamification Theory Fuels Excitement about Education in the Classroom
Scott Smith's spring Consumer Behavior course is experiencing gamification theory as a tool for enhancing education and participation in the classroom.
"The gamification theory, in essence, is the use of game techniques in non-game situations to heighten engagement," Smith says. "It focuses on the individual's innate need for validation through competition."
The class format is similar to playing a game. The students are split into teams, competing for the winning spot on each level while applying concepts they have learned in class. There are also incentives, such as free lunch and T-shirts, to motivate students toward their end goal.
The incentives for each level are provided by their real-world client, Bluff Dwellers Cavern. Collin Bunch, manager of marketing applications in the business partnerships and outreach department, connected Smith's class with this client, who handed over their company's social media information and trust to the students.
Smith says the students seem to be enjoying the creative liberty of deciding how to enhance the social reach of Bluff Dwellers Cavern from a different perspective.
"I think classes have become too content driven," Smith says. "In this class, the students are leading the charge."
By expanding the classroom experience, Smith is providing an environment for students to experience learning to a greater degree.
Racing Red Tails Ready for Air Race Classic
Aviation student Molly Brand will participate in one of the most prestigious, all-female, cross-country events this summer, The Air Race Classic. Brand and her teammate, Miyukiko "KoKo" Kostelny, will start the race in Pasco, Wash. on June 18 and will finish in Fayetteville, Ark. on June 21.
"It is a cross-country competition to celebrate females in the aviation industry," Brand says. "The accuracy of planning and efficiency of flight, rather than who gets there first, is more important in this competition."
The duo, known as the "Racing Red Tails," will compete against more than 50 pairs of female pilots who have hundreds of hours of flying experience and completed the race multiple times. The race will last four days and span 2,400 nautical miles.
"The aviation program at UCM is of the highest quality," Brand says. "There is an emphasis on holding yourself to a higher degree. The faculty have already expressed their support and are willing to help us prepare in any way they can."
Brand hopes to inspire females at UCM and around the country to pursue a fun and rewarding career. By participating in a once-in-a-lifetime event while gaining real-world experience that is important to her future, Brand is learning to a greater degree.
Nordyke Honored by Learning to a Greater Degree Award
Alan Nordyke, director of residence and Greek life, goes above and beyond the call of duty outlined in his job description.
In addition to his assigned duties at work, Nordyke is the coordinator of the University of Central Missouri's Special Housing Interest Programs, is a member of the Student Success Committee, recruits graduate assistants for several departments and teaches on campus. "Being a part of professional organizations is great, I've enjoyed serving my field in that way," Nordyke says.
He is also established in the Warrensburg community as an active member within the local school district and his church.
Patrick Bradley, director of housing and dining services, nominated Nordyke, saying, "He performs his duties because he truly cares about students succeeding after they leave UCM, not for the personal accolades."
Nordyke has worked at UCM for more than 25 years. He came to UCM as he was looking for his first job and was able to grow within the university throughout the years.
Nordyke says, "I am very fortunate that I have had the opportunity to help others through my work here. I believe in what we're doing at the university, and that makes it easy to do my job."
By believing in students and providing his time and talent to UCM, Nordyke exemplifies learning to a greater degree.
Student Leader Recognized with Learning to a Greater Degree Award
In his second semester at UCM, senior Daniel Bender learned that some projects stretch beyond the classroom and affect more people than the students in the course.
Last fall, the Management of Organizations class put on a dance and raised more than $1,000 for a local charity, Music in Motion. The event was held for local men and women with Down syndrome and UCM students.
"The dynamic of the event was unexpectedly incredible," Bender says. He served as the project manager for the class.
On Friday, Bender was recognized for his embodiment of UCM's engaged learning and culture of service as the student recipient of the Learning to a Greater Degree Award.
"He was a leader and motivator in a class project where he had very little power base," professor Mary McCord wrote in her nomination. "Without formal authority, Daniel moved the class toward their goal and the event was a success."
About 200 people attended the event; half of them were UCM students who paid $5 to attend. Additionally, the class sold bracelets to benefit the local group.
"This project definitely had an impact on me and others because it was such a unique concept of the classroom," Bender says. "We were able to touch and see the impact."
By being a student leader in a class project to benefit a local charity, Bender is learning to a greater degree.
Student Involvement Creates Hands-On Experience
Christina Parle, a junior Criminal Justice and Political Science major, understands the value of getting involved in campus activities.
She is a member in more than five student organizations, including the Criminal Justice Honors College. Parle also teaches supplemental instruction for political science courses and holds the position of vice president in the Student Government Association.
"Christina is one of our most energetic students," says Scott Chenault, interim department chair and assistant professor of criminal justice. "As a professor, getting students engaged is one of the biggest challenges in the classroom. With Christina, that is not a problem."
By participating in multiple student organizations at UCM, Parle says she has been able to develop her skills as a leader and a communicator.
"I know I want to be a leader," Parle says. "That means listening to others, accepting feedback and utilizing what I've learned."
As a supplemental instructor, Parle develops lesson plans and "games," such as Jeopardy, to assist students with their coursework. She says she relishes seeing students gain confidence with the material and enjoys learning how best to communicate with them.
By keeping an open mind, being involved and interacting with other students, Parle is learning to a greater degree.
Oxfam Hunger Banquet Provides Education and Inspiration to Students
Anna Jones, a Mass Communication graduate student, is gaining hands-on experience through a service-learning project in her Social Influence course.
In this course, the primary project is to organize and present the Oxfam Hunger Banquet at UCM. The banquet is a fundraising event intended to bring awareness to the community about the issue of world hunger.
"People don't realize that hunger can be an issue in their local area," Jones says. "It isn't just something that happens in third-world countries."
She says that the students are able to use persuasion techniques learned in class to educate and inspire people to make a difference by participating in the Oxfam Hunger Banquet.
"I believe that through words we have the ability to change perceptions," Jones says. "I want to bring about change."
Jones is a part of the banquet planning and education group. "We are in charge of organizing the poster presentation, creating a timeline for the event and scheduling a keynote speaker," Jones says. "I hope that people will step outside themselves for the night and appreciate what they have."
The banquet will be held at 5:30 p.m. April 11 in the Elliott Union Atrium and Union 238.
By applying coursework to real-world experience and spreading hunger awareness throughout the community, Jones is learning to a greater degree.
Knowledge From the Classroom Paves the Way for Real-World Experience
For two consecutive years Mat Thornton, a senior Music major, will spend his summer as a part of the Grease Monkeys, a three-piece percussion performance group at Worlds of Fun in Kansas City, Mo.
Thornton and Ian McClaflin, a UCM alumnus, make up two-thirds of this team. The group performs on automotive-themed "rigs" that consist of overturned buckets, rolling toolboxes and an assortment of hubcaps.
"We took everything we've learned about percussion and applied it to the equipment, the music and the performance," Thornton says.
Percussionists from all around Missouri audition each year for the Grease Monkeys. The group performs a 15-20 minute show six times a day, six days a week.
"Worlds of Fun is a great starting point. A lot of professionals got their start there," Thornton says. "My ultimate goal is to play percussion for a living for the rest of my life. This summer, I was able to do that."
Thornton says that having the opportunity to play in every large ensemble on campus has opened him up to being in the limelight and putting on a show. "Each time it gets a little easier," Thornton says.
By gaining real-world experience in his degree field, Thornton is learning to a greater degree.
Student Recognized as Leader in his Field
Max Whitsell, a junior athletic training major, is making strides as a young professional in the athletic training industry.
Whitsell's experience during his clinicals at UCM led to him being chosen to attend the 2013 iLead Conference in Dallas, Texas. iLead is a leadership conference for up-and-coming college students pursuing careers in athletic training. He was one of only 150 students in the country selected to attend.
"I had a great time at the conference and learned a lot," Whitsell says. "The conference was during the same time as the Athletic Training Educators' Conference, so I was lucky to be able to network with a lot of professionals in the industry."
Whitsell also gained accolades as the Missouri Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance 2012 Outstanding Athletic Training Student of the Year.
He may not have received such honors if he hadn't decided to "choose red." Whitsell says he decided on UCM because of the athletic training program's reputation, top-notch facilities and faculty leadership, and he hasn't looked back since.
Whitsell provides advice for someone thinking about coming to UCM for athletic training, "Get involved, be active and make connections. Those things will help you a lot."
The opportunities UCM has provided coupled with Whitsell's passion for helping others is why he is learning to a greater degree.
Hands-on Experience, Networking Adds Value for Education Majors
As a sophomore Family and Consumer Science Education major, April Gramenz is gaining experience beyond the classroom to support her abilities to lead one of her own.
When about 200 students from 15 high schools visited UCM for the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America STAR competition, Gramenz and four of her peers served as judges for the competition and presented to the high school students about the FCSE major at UCM.
"No doubt their coursework is invaluable, but gaining an opportunity to work with high school students and networking with other teachers far exceeded what I could have taught them in class," assistant professor Billie Perrin says.
The projects Gramenz and her peers judged centered on issues such as recycling, and texting and driving.
"It was very interesting and impressive to see the projects students put together," Gramenz says.
This is not the only way that Gramenz has been involved. She has also presented about the FCSE major to a class of UCM's open options students.
"I love the program and all the opportunities," Gramenz says. "Family and Consumer Science is about real-world skills. It's useful no matter what you decide to do."
Gramenz and her fellow students are learning to a greater degree by taking advantage of hands-on learning opportunities, causing Perrin to be "busting with pride."
For Yearous, Volunteering is Second Nature
The University of Central Missouri provides numerous opportunities to give back. Senior Nicholas Yearous, an economics major, does his best to participate in all of them.
Yearous is a member of Mo Volunteers and UCM Breakers. He estimates he has been involved in more than 30 Mo Volunteer events. Additionally, he has participated in Breakers every year since his admittance to UCM in 2010.
"I wanted to find a way to learn what Warrensburg was all about when I moved here, so I volunteered," Yearous says.
Yearous' favorite experience was the Breakers trip to Fort Smith, Ark., his freshman year, where he learned how to build a home from his Habitat for Humanity leader.
Breakers is a group of student volunteers who participate in an alternate spring break program each year where they help rehabilitate homes with Habitat for Humanity International.
"I always look forward to these trips," Yearous says. "You have the chance to learn about the new homeowners and hear their stories. It makes the experience very fulfilling."
Mo Volunteers works with organizations such as Early Childhood Hunger Operation, Survival House and the Missouri Veterans home. "I help whenever I can," Yearous says.
By utilizing UCM’s opportunities to give back to the community, Yearous is learning to a greater degree.
Graduate Applies Skills, Knowledge at Black & Veatch
Ezekiel Vann graduated from UCM Dec. 2010 with a major in Computer-Aided Drafting and Design, and an emphasis in Architecture. Immediately after completing his undergraduate degree, he started his master's degree in Technology Management and graduated summer 2012. Today, Vann works as an engineer technician in the federal division at Black & Veatch.
When asked how UCM influenced him, Vann referred to his instructors' worldly perspectives. They gave him well-rounded knowledge he could apply to his career.
"UCM prepared me for my career field by having such a great staff of dedicated instructors with real-world experience," he says. "I work hard and show an initiative to learn and progress in my career, which in turn shows Black & Veatch that UCM has great potential employees."
Vann consistently communicated with Black & Veatch throughout the last few years of his education. He received his first job offer from the company after completing his undergraduate degree, but he had already accepted a graduate assistant position at UCM.
"I received the second job offer at Black & Veatch by attending the UCM fall 2011 career fair and speaking to the representatives of the company," Vann says.
In his first full-time job directly after graduate school, Vann is prepared to excel because he experienced learning to a greater degree.
Student Teaching in all of its Meanings
Natalie Krahenbuhl, a student teacher at Sunnyvale Middle School in Blue Springs, Mo. and middle school education major, uses skills from coursework and choreography to enhance her teaching.
Krahenbuhl says the variety of learning styles has become an essential topic in her education classes, making it important to for teachers to be equipped with a variety of teaching skills. In Krahenbuhl's case, teaching choreography has given her this edge.
Krahenbuhl is responsible for choreographing and teaching five pieces in this year's dance concert, Louder than Words, as well as being an assistant choreographer for last year's production of Oklahoma. With 14 years of dance experience, Krahenbuhl easily transferred her ability to move into her proficiency to choreograph and teach the dances.
She says she plans to take some of the techniques learned through teaching choreography into the classroom, such as providing vivid visuals, expanding on examples and practicing patience.
"There's a fine line between being in charge and being friendly," Krahenbuhl says. "I want my students to feel comfortable, but still respect me."
By practicing a variety of teaching techniques through real-world application, Krahenbuhl is learning to a greater degree.
Raytown Student Charts Innovative Path to UCM
While pursuing a career that incorporates her favorite subjects, math and science, Raytown South High School junior Armaja LaRue-Hill has already charted a path to graduate from UCM. What's more, she will complete a bachelor's degree in systems engineering technology in only two years after her high school graduation, and will do so with little or no college debt.
LaRue-Hill has the opportunity of a lifetime as a student at the Missouri Innovation Campus, located in the Lee's Summit R-7 School District's Summit Technology Academy. This rigorous, accelerated program prepares students for high-demand careers in technology through internships, hands-on training and coursework needed for tomorrow's workforce. UCM, the school district and academy, Metropolitan Community College, and numerous business partners make this program possible.
LaRue-Hill says she has "already learned valuable job skills, including maintaining a professional attitude and troubleshooting problems that occur" in the information technology arena.
By 2014, the semester after her high school graduation, she will have earned an associate degree from MCC and be ready to continue her studies at UCM. By adding an experiential learning environment in her education at companies such as Cerner, DST and Saint Luke's Health Systems, she will truly experience learning to a greater degree.
"I pursued MIC because it sounded like a great opportunity," LaRue-Hill said, but she noted in retrospect, "MIC chose me."
Class Project Impact Local Charity, UCM Students
In his second semester at UCM, senior Daniel Bender learned that some class projects stretch far beyond the classroom and affect more people than the students in the course.
Last fall, the Management of Organizations class put on a dance and raised more than $1,000 for a local charity, Music in Motion. The event, worked on by all 35 students in the class, was held for local men and women with Down syndrome and UCM students.
"The dynamic was unexpectedly incredible," Bender says of the event. He served as the project manager for the class.
As a team, the class secured sponsors, food, a student DJ and a photo booth, provided by the UCM photo society.
"This project definitely had an impact on me and others because it was such a unique concept of the classroom," Bender says. "We were able to touch and see the impact."
About 200 people attended the event, and half of the attendees were UCM students who paid $5 each to attend. Additionally, the class sold bracelets to benefit the local group.
"In 13 weeks we were able to pull off this event that could become a huge annual event," Bender says. By working to help a local charity while honing their management skills, Bender and his peers are learning to a greater degree.
Graduate Assistant Gives Time, Talent to Young Women in the Community
April Dion, graduate assistant in the James C. Kirkpatrick Library, is working on more than a master's degree in mass communication focused on media studies and corporate communication. She is the founder of a series of women's retreats for females from across Missouri.
Dion also received her undergraduate degrees in political science and Africana studies at the University of Central Missouri.
"UCM felt like home the minute I got here," Dion says.
Dion was inspired to start these retreats after a mission trip that took her through many urban areas in the U.S.
"Once you see how fragile life is, it changes your perspective," Dion says.
In 2011, Dion organized her first retreat. Many of the costs for this retreat were absorbed by Dion. She says the retreats are about helping women feel empowered by discovering and igniting their passions. By doing this, Dion hopes to increase what she calls, "community progressiveness."
"It means building on a community and working together to enhance it," Dion says. In the future, Dion hopes to expand the retreats nationally.
"I am working to develop it into a nonprofit organization," Dion says. This will allow her to make a self-sustaining organization out of the retreats.
Dion demonstrates the meaning of learning to a greater degree through her dedication to service and empowering young women.
#teamUCM Integrates Social Media with UCM's Blackout Game
Danielle Myers, graduate assistant and manager of UCM's student-led PR firm, Innovative Public Relations, is organizing the first social media event at a UCM athletic game to be held Wednesday, Jan. 23.
Many national sports teams have experimented with social media nights and been successful in increasing crowd involvement through channels such as Twitter and Facebook, as Myers experienced at a Royals baseball game over the summer.
During UCM's social media night, fans are encouraged to join the conversation through a designated hashtag. Attendees will have the opportunity to participate in contests and win prizes by using the event hashtag, #teamUCM.
"The hashtag the Royals used was #SocialMediaNight. I thought that sounded a little too nerdy," Myers says. "I wanted to use something that would be more encompassing of the UCM community. I think #teamUCM has that quality."
She says that #teamUCM is about more than supporting UCM athletics; it's about the support all students receive from the UCM and Warrensburg community.
"I would love for #teamUCM to become another UCM tradition, but it depends on the students," Myers says.
Prizes for #teamUCM Night at the Blackout Game include Dairy Queen "bucks," University Store credit and a free plane ride sponsored by the Department of Aviation. Even those who are not on Twitter will have the opportunity to participate in contests by simply attending the game, which is free to students.
Driven to organize and execute innovative events at UCM, Myers is learning to a greater degree.
To learn more about #teamUCM Night at the Blackout game, visit ucmo.edu/teamucm.
Lewandowski Ponders Challenges of World Cities
How are technological and environmental changes affecting social, political and economic dimensions of urban life? As a prolific researcher, Joseph Lewandowski, dean of The Honors College and professor of philosophy at the University of Central Missouri, ponders such issues through his published works, while also looking for ways to foster understanding among students who are part of a global age.
His scholarly interest in themes that connect technology, the environment and leading cities, led to an invitation to join civic leaders, educators and scientists across the globe at the 2012 Urban Age Electric Conference at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Featuring guest speakers that included the British prime minister and mayors of major cities, the conference explored topics such as economic influences of green cities on the welfare and economic geography of urban areas; limits and conflicts between cities and states in confronting challenges of climate change; and links between physical and social dimension of the most rapidly changing cities of the world.
"As an educator and administrator, I always try to encourage students to take a worldly perspective on local problems and issues," Lewandowski says. "The Urban Age Conference has afforded me new insights and empirical data that I look forward to sharing with students in the classroom. It is crucial that UCM students understand interconnected challenges and opportunities faced by cities such as St. Louis, Kansas City, London and Mumbai."
By doing so, they are gaining a worldly perspective and learning to a greater degree.
Engaged Learning Opened Door for Marketing Major
Senior marketing major Whitney Martens' competitive nature has fueled a whirlwind of achievement this past year.
Along with her responsibilities as a full-time student and alumni ambassador, last year Martens participated in the State Farm Marketing and Sales Competition.
The competition, hosted by the University of Central Missouri, allows college students from around the country to showcase their marketing and sales skills to State Farm employees.
"The competition helped open the door for me at State Farm," says Martens. "Without that experience, it would have been really tough for me to land the internship."
Although Martens didn't win the competition, she was offered numerous internship opportunities on the spot, and ultimately accepted a summer internship with State Farm - an internship that Forbes ranked as the fifth best in 2012.
As an intern, Martens worked in the marketing department alongside current industry professionals where she was given ample opportunities to show off her marketing savvy.
"It was really research-based. I put together a competitive analysis of insurance companies' social media pages. Then, I presented the best ways to interact online to State Farm," Martens says. "It's awesome because they are implementing some of my ideas now."
Martens' ambition coupled with engaged learning opportunities exemplifies one of the many experiences of learning to a greater degree at UCM.
Politics Where Students Win
During a heated political race in Missouri for a U.S. Senate seat, USA Today turned to Jim Staab, professor of political science and chair of the Department of Government, International Studies and Languages, to share his thoughts on the impact of a candidate's controversial remarks. For Staab, who often comments to media, such contacts are teaching moments.
"I enjoy speaking with editors of newspapers," Staab says. "I am a strong defender of the teacher-scholar model and importance of faculty engaging in scholarly activity. The virtue of providing commentary in newspapers - whether it be op-ed pieces or quotations - is that it provides another vehicle for communicating ideas about politics and reaching a different audience."
Staab is the author of the book The Political Thought of Justice Antonin Scalia: A Hamiltonian on the Supreme Court (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2006), and a former member of the Virginia and Washington, D.C. bars. As a UCM professor, he works hard to make students understand the value of being engaged in political discussion, and to make them feel comfortable to express views on critical issues.
"We might not always agree with things that take place in politics, but we should recognize their importance and that it matters to be active participants in the political system," he says. By doing so, UCM students are learning to a greater degree.
Student Firefighter Supports Community, Gains Hands-on Experience
Tyler Bolton, a safety management major, dreamed of becoming a firefighter and helping others since childhood. As a part-time student resident firefighter for the Warrensburg Fire Department, Bolton's dream has become a reality.
"The Warrensburg Fire Department has an outstanding reputation, and I wanted to become a part of that tradition," Bolton says. "The student resident program is beneficial for the city of Warrensburg and for me."
Building upon his goals, Bolton has enrolled in additional courses at UCM that focus on community service and the development of real-world experiences as a future professional safety engineer. UCM, in partnership with the Johnson County Ambulance District, offers an emergency medical technician course with required, hands-on and clinical internship experiences. Both the course and internship combine rigorous knowledge, skills-based coursework and mandatory patient interactions in the emergency medical services field.
Upon completion of this course, students like Bolton possess the skills and knowledge necessary to pass the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians practical exam. Successful completion of the NREMT exam awards the title emergency medical technician, basic.
"I'm prepared to use the skills I have gained from this class in everyday life to help fellow UCM students, Warrensburg community members or others who may need medical help or assistance," Bolton says.
Through a culture of service attitude and engaged learning experiences in the Warrensburg community and at UCM, Bolton is learning to a greater degree.
Stockton Honored with Learning to a Greater Degree Award
The nomination for UCM's first faculty recipient of the Learning to a Greater Degree Award opened with the statement, "Susan Stockton exudes a genuineness that motivates her to provide students with experiences that go beyond the classroom."
When talking to Stockton, a health education instructor and two-time UCM alumna, her genuineness is immediately apparent, as is her passion for teaching.
One of the many notable ways that Stockton helps to provide her students with engaged learning opportunities is by giving them access to a software program she obtained through an in-house grant. This program allows students to monitor their heart rate and understand how it affects their health, resiliency, creativity and problem-solving abilities.
"Because their world to me is so exuberant with color and action, the more you can engage the whole person, the more they will remember," Stockton says.
Stockton also gets students involved beyond health education, taking advantage of the "creative trust" of UCM faculty and staff who bring speakers and events to campus on a regular basis.
This semester, she had the American Democracy Project group come into her classes to help register students to vote, and for a service-learning experience, she took her students to help clean up Warrensburg's Blind Boone Park.
Stockton's passion and involvement in and outside the classroom demonstrates what learning to a greater degree means.
First Student Presented with the Learning to a Greater Degree Award
Lacy Stephens has been selected as the University of Central Missouri's first Learning to a Greater Degree student award recipient for her involvement in engaged learning and service throughout the Kansas City area.
Stephens, a senior nutrition and dietetics major, has a very busy schedule. Between classes and preparing for graduation, she finds time to organize events for the Student Dietetics Association as its current secretary.
"This semester has been a little stressful, but receiving this award reminded me of the bigger picture," Stephens says. "I was very flattered and surprised!"
Some of the volunteer organizations Stephens is involved in include Cultivate Kansas City, Serve Kansas City and Society of St. Andrew West. She received the 2011 Volunteer of the Year award for her work with "Eating from the Garden" through Cultivate Kansas City. Although Stephens is very passionate about all of her volunteering endeavors, she is especially fond of this program.
In her work with "Eating from the Garden," Stephens had the privilege to work with fourth graders in an urban youth center. She recalls watching them "pull things straight from the garden and seeing them love their vegetables," as one of the most memorable moments in all of her volunteer work.
UCM's reasons to believe are exemplified through Stephens' positive outlook and drive to teach others about sustainability and nutrition in urban areas.
"Learning to a greater degree means stepping outside of the classroom and figuring out how you can take the pieces you are learning and use them in the real world," Stephens says.
Do you know someone who demonstrates UCM's reasons to believe? Nominate them to be the next Learning to a Greater Degree Award recipient.
Homecoming King with Worldly Perspective
Mohit Srivastava, senior Accounting and Finance double major, has made the most of his time at the University of Central Missouri.
Originally from India, Srivastava lived much of his life in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, before coming to the United States for his college education.
Srivastava "chose red" because of the friendly campus environment and the opportunity to major in finance.
Srivastava is currently involved in numerous groups ranging from the accounting organization Beta Alpha Psi, the International Student Organization and a club tennis team among others.
When asked what has been the most memorable thing about UCM, Srivastava said, "When you smile at someone, they smile back. That might seem really small, but to me, it means a lot."
Srivastava has shared a lot of smiles during his time at UCM. He was crowned 2012 Homecoming King as the representative of the International Student Organization.
But he won't brag about the crown. Instead, he gives credit to the UCM international students as a whole. "I'm proud of the international students on campus," Srivastava says. "We can make a difference just like other groups, and I think we proved that."
By experiencing various cultures and being engaged inside and outside of the classroom, Srivastava is experiencing learning to a greater degree.
With Designs on the Future
UCM senior Lauren Riddle is on her way to a career in fashion merchandising with firsthand experience gained through her coursework at UCM.
As part of a class project, Riddle created an original textile print that was copyrighted with a patent application completed. The design was used to create men's neckties and women's scarves that are available for purchase, with proceeds going to support the cost of product development for future projects.
Riddle and her peers in the Fashion and Apparel Merchandising program learned about all aspects of their chosen field though the project. A product sample was produced and manufacturer selected. When the first sample wasn't correct, students had to apply their critical thinking and problem solving skills to determine the best way to assure delivery of the finished project on deadline.
Program coordinator Lynn Alkire says the project was designed to take students beyond the classroom to the real world.
"The model is embedded into each required fashion class that builds as the courses are taken in sequence," she says. "It is a mini-business within an academic program that allows students to take ownership from concept to consumer."
With the opportunities provided at UCM, Lauren Riddle is learning to a greater degree.
Peer Registrar Team Empowers Students' Voices
Six UCM students have made the effort to assure that their fellow students will be able to vote tomorrow.
As part of UCM's ongoing participation in the American Democracy Project, they made up the 2012 Peer Registrar team. Political science majors Kayla Meine, Annie Lewis Jones, Amanda Sasek and Mikey Tyler were joined by Kate Bocklage, an elementary education major, and Nick Hanna, a biology major.
The team made more than 150 presentations to classes. Their efforts resulted in 632 UCM students being registered to vote between the third week of September and the end of October. They also assisted more than 300 students and faculty members in submitting absentee ballots. This year's team set a record for the number of presentations made and registrations completed.
"As political science majors, we're surrounded by people who care about the process," says Tyler. "It was an eye-opener to see how many of our peers weren't aware of the process and hadn't registered to vote."
For Sasek, the effort means that more than 600 voices may be heard.
"Each vote can make a difference," says Sasek. "Hopefully more people registered to vote will mean more people will have an impact."
By engaging their peers in the presidential election, these students are learning to a greater degree.
Music Technology Offers Professional Equipment, Experience
Kristen Hirlinger attended a music camp at UCM the summer before she made her college decision. Four years later, as a music technology major at UCM, she taught an enrichment course at the same UCM summer camp.
"It was a very enlightening experience," says Hirlinger, a senior from Boonville, Mo. "To see kids who aren't exposed to this type of information, it totally blew their minds."
Discovering UCM's music technology program as a high school student is what inspired Hirlinger to attend UCM.
"I was amazed that this kind of education was available near where I grew up," she says.
In addition to her coursework, Hirlinger plays the flute in the wind ensemble and works on campus as a music theory tutor. As part of her core courses, she has completed a practicum using professional equipment to record and edit CDs.
"I think that having worked with current, professional tools will benefit me when I am looking for a job," says Hirlinger. She hopes to work in sound design or composing for video games or movies; prior to that, she is considering graduate school.
Hirlinger's advice, "Don't be afraid to ask questions and take advantage of every opportunity. Don't be afraid to think outside the box."
As a music technology major, Hirlinger is learning to a greater degree.
Student Creates Annual Philanthropic Event
Aubrey Frazier came to UCM to earn her graduate degree in College Student Personnel Administration last fall. Hired as the graduate assistant for the Office of Greek Life, she brought with her a volunteer-driven project she believes in - Big Pink.
Big Pink is a volleyball tournament played with a four-foot wide, hot pink ball to raise money for breast cancer research. Frazier's passion for this project started when she served as the student chair for Big Pink at her undergraduate institution.
"I don't have a family connection with breast cancer," says Frazier. "Because I got involved on campus, I learned about breast cancer and decided to make a difference."
Frazier and the assistant director for Greek life decided Big Pink was a good fit for UCM because it is student-run and involves a large number of students and community members.
Last year, 31 teams participated and raised $2,071. This year, Big Pink raised more than $5,000 for Susan G. Komen for the Cure and the American Cancer Society Making Strides Against Breast Cancer.
"Philanthropy is important because we get to look beyond our own lives," says Frazier. "UCM is providing an outlet for students to make a difference."
Frazier experiences learning to a greater degree by dedicating hours of volunteer work for a cause that's bigger than her.
Class Practicum Elevates Students' Learning Experience
Anastasiya Vasyuta, a junior graphic arts technology management major at the University of Central Missouri, has been given an invaluable amount of exposure to the printing process through her practicum at the Center for Print Production.
CPP is UCM's in-house material printing operation. By utilizing its machinery and expert staff, the university has been able to cut costs on out-sourced spending and give students the opportunity to gain real-world experience in multiple aspects of the printing industry.
As the only student working at the CPP practicum, Vasyuta earns one practicum credit hour for every 10 hours she works. The total number of credit hours earned will be determined by Vasyuta and her advisor.
Although balancing her schedule is difficult at times, Vasyuta is very enthusiastic about her work. She says there is a unique sense of pride and ownership that comes with seeing final products she has been a part of on campus.
"I love walking by a piece that I have worked on and thinking 'I made that,'" says Vasyuta. "There's nothing like that feeling."
For Vasyuta, the most beneficial thing about this practicum is the hands-on experience; it mandates quality time for practicing theories she has learned in the classroom. She is able to participate in projects from the creation of the design to pre-press, through print and to the final product.
"It has really helped me to further understand how a realistic workflow is utilized," says Vasyuta.
Vasyuta is learning to a greater degree through her practicum in CPP.
Engaged Students Benefit from Behavioral Medicine Lab
The psychology department's behavioral medicine lab provides students an opportunity to apply lessons from the classroom.
For Amy Garcia, a junior psychology major, working in the behavioral medicine lab has made the difference between simply earning a degree and preparing for a successful career.
In the lab, Garcia assists psychology professor Duane Lundervold in conducting studies and research on behavioral medicine. Each day offers a new challenge and experience. Garcia says that applying knowledge attained from the class made a significant difference in her view of the field.
"I decided behavioral medicine and psychology are what I needed to do," says Garcia. "This is my passion, and the University of Central Missouri has been able to enhance it."
Garcia has come to see that the statistics and data entry, though tedious at times, all contribute to the scientific purpose.
Working in the lab has also helped to give her a more well-rounded perspective. "Everyone has different beliefs and values; yet in the lab, we are all there to help each other improve," says Garcia.
Garcia never doubts her decision to study at UCM. "This university offers opportunities that others do not," says Garcia, "I have been able to experience on-the-job training while assisting Dr. Lundervold in the lab."
Garcia experiences learning to a greater degree through first-hand involvement in the lab. By the end of the year, she will complete her training in behavioral relaxation methods and begin teaching participants.
Heapes Teaches with Passion, Real-World Experience
Tom Heapes' journey to UCM began at a Public Relations Society of America event where public relations professor Tricia Hansen-Horn was telling the UCM story and seeking professionals willing to connect with students.
After continued conversations, Heapes began work last year as an adjunct professor at UCM while continuing to work at Trozzolo Communications in Kansas City, Mo.
"From there, I just fell in love with the place," says Heapes who was hired as a full-time faculty member this fall.
With more than 20 years of agency experience, Heapes brings first-hand knowledge and stories of life in the industry. Still, he is humbled by the opportunity and credits UCM faculty and staff with welcoming him and preparing him to be successful.
"I just really feel passionately about this opportunity that I have been given," says Heapes. "It’s a gift that most people don’t get."
When preparing for class, Heapes continually looks for ways to engage students by using current events and ongoing cases. In his PR and Social Media course, he makes the final project more lifelike by having students adjust to a sudden change shortly before their presentations.
By merging real-world experience with engaging coursework, the students in Tom Heapes' classes are learning to a greater degree.
Do you know someone who embodies learning to a greater degree? Nominate them for the Learning to a Greater Degree Award.
Fulbright Scholar to Experience Austrian Culture, Collaboration
As a Fulbright scholar, UCM professor Nicholas Baeth will further his research on factorization theory while teaching as the NAWI-Graz Visiting Professor in the Natural Sciences at the Karl Franzen University in Austria.
Having previously met colleagues from Karl Franzen University who shared his research interests, Baeth chose to apply for this specific Fulbright award. He says he is looking forward to the collaboration.
Additionally, he is hoping to gain further pedagogical knowledge, improve his German language skills and learn more about the Austrian culture.
In summer 2012, Baeth was able to spend a few weeks in Austria. During that time, he discovered a different classroom environment with less student-teacher interaction.
"I tend to be very interactive in the classroom. I am happy if I am writing on the board, and they see where I am going and express it in class," says Baeth. "I am going to try to be myself when I teach there and try to get the students more involved in class."
This will be a learning experience for him and the Austrian students in his class.
After Baeth's time in Austria, he will bring back a worldly perspective to his classroom, opening new opportunities for his students to benefit from learning to a greater degree.
Fulbright Scholar to Share Journey, Firsthand Knowledge with Students
In January, Associate Professor of English Wayne Miller will depart for Queen's University in Belfast, Ireland, for six months to teach, study, write and gain firsthand knowledge of the area.
When he returns from his time overseas as the recipient of the Distinguished Scholar in Creative Writing Fulbright Award, he hopes to have completed his fourth book of poetry, and perhaps, his daughter will have gained a faint Irish accent.
While Miller says it is difficult to pick just one thing that he is most looking forward to, he hopes to bring back knowledge not only about poetry and creative writing in the United Kingdom, but also about life in an area with a deep history.
"I think that for college students there is a lot of the world that they haven't seen yet," says Miller. "I will be able to give my students a glimpse of what is going on in Ireland and the UK. I think that's a real benefit."
Additionally, by having navigated the Fulbright application process, Miller will be able to extend this knowledge to outstanding students who might be interested in a Fulbright award.
By taking classes from a Fulbright scholar, Miller's students experience learning to a greater degree through his perspective on the world.
Thanks to technology provided at the University of Central Missouri, aviation students are gaining a step up in their careers.
In the past, aircraft controls were monitored by vacuum gauges on analog devices. Recently, all gauges have been condensed into a digital display system.
"That's why we call them glass cockpits, because it is like an LCD screen of glass," says Miyukiko Kostelny, an aviation department graduate assistant and flight team coach.
Glass cockpits are still relatively new to the general aviation field. UCM has three airplanes with the technology. Glass cockpit technology is extremely important to know in the aviation field.
"Everything you are going to fly in the future will be glass," says Kostelny.
Kostelny, who also received her undergraduate degree from UCM, says the availability of glass cockpit technology has given students an added advantage.
"It's challenging because you don't know where to look first, but understanding this technology will help the students transition through general aviation, commercial and even jet piloting," says Kostelny.
As a third-generation pilot, Kostelny is passionate about flying. By having access to cutting-edge technologies, Kostelny is learning to a greater degree.
When the planning for the Student Recreation and Wellness Center began, University of Central Missouri had an opportunity to put into action some of the sustainability practices it was advocating.
That forward thinking has resulted in the building being awarded the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED Gold Certification.
The recreation center achieved 45 points on its final LEED project checklist and received points for items such as the reuse of materials from existing buildings, the use of geothermal heating and cooling, and use of the former Morrow pool to collect storm water for irrigation of native plants outside the building.
"To follow the project from inception to completing was an exciting opportunity," says Beth Rutt, director of student activities. "Being able to achieve gold - that was the icing on the cake."
Everything in the building from its use of natural light to the fabrics and carpet were factors carefully considered in the context of sustainability, while creating an outstanding facility with fitness opportunities for the entire campus community.
"We are trying to emphasize a holistic approach to education," says Rutt. "Students are here to gain specifics in their academic field, and our role is to encourage that engagement outside of the classroom."
Through campus collaboration, a facility was created with more ways for students to experience learning to a greater degree.
Construction Management Major Leads Habitat Project
Paige Becker explains it simply. As a senior construction management major, she has the skills and abilities to give back to the community through Habitat for Humanity, so that's what she needs do.
"I feel like I can help people out with what I know and where I came from," she says, adding that her family owns a lumberyard in her hometown of Freeburg, Mo., where she hopes to work after graduation.
Becker has been involved with Habitat since her freshman year. While she has been on many Habitat sites, Saturday's Blitz Day was the first time she acted as the sole foreman on a site. At first, she was a bit daunted by her leading role, but as the day progressed, Becker's confidence grew.
"I felt a lot more experienced and accomplished," says Becker. "Eventually everyone on the site was doing something, and I think they felt like they helped out."
As a Habitat for Humanity board member, Becker hopes to see this house through to completion, but her involvement won't end there. Someday, Becker hopes to start a Habitat for Humanity in Freeburg.
"Being with Habitat, you get out there and learn what it's really like," Becker says. "You can't learn that out of a book."
Paige Becker is gaining real-world experience through her service, and that is just one of the many ways she's learning to a greater degree at UCM.