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UCM Feature Stories

Student Experiences Athletic Training for Professional Athletes

Junior Athletic Training major Takao Iwano poses at Surprise Stadium, home of the Royals spring training camp where he interned.

For junior Athletic Training major Takao Iwano, the perfect job would be to work for a professional sports team and be behind the scenes at every game. That dream became a reality this semester when Iwano interned for Major League Baseball as an athletic trainer during spring training.

For two weeks, Iwano practiced his skills in athletic training for the Kansas City Royals and the Seattle Mariners. Iwano was able to use the learned in class, and learn some new methods from the teams.

"This was my first experience with professional athletic training," says Iwano. "It definitely helped me decide my future career."

Iwano had to miss classes while he was gone, but his professors allowed him make up exams in order to experience this hands-on opportunity.

While the internship involved hard work and long hours, Iwano had fun, too. He sat in the dugout during games, and even fist bumped Royals player Eric Hosmer.

"We've never had a UCM student do an internship with Major League Baseball," says Brian Hughes, director of the UCM Athletic Training program. "This is a big résumé builder for him."

Iwano hopes to return to the MLB in the future to continue his athletic training career. By getting hands-on experience at the professional level, Iwano experienced learning to a greater degree.

Student Competes in Regional Cake Decorating Competition

UCM student Emily Kleoppel creates the final decorations for her creation at
Hy-Vee's cake decorating competition.

Emily Kleoppel, a dual major in Hospitality Management and Modern Languages, has always dreamed of opening her own bakery and studying abroad to learn about cake decorating techniques.

Kleoppel recently gained hands-on experience in a regional cake decorating competition in Independence, Mo., after her manager suggested she enter the annual competition for Hy-Vee employees.

Participants were allotted three hours to decorate a wedding cake and another cake of their choice. The experience was a networking opportunity for Kleoppel, and she was featured on both 41 Action News and Fox 4 News in Kansas City.

Kleoppel says her hospitality classes helped her in the competition. "I've learned so much about the hospitality industry and working hard to be successful," says Kleoppel. "My hospitality professors are supportive of my goals and they encouraged me to compete."

Although Kleoppel didn't place in the competition, she says it was still a great opportunity for her, and she is interested in competing next year.

"This experience was more than what I had imagined. It has opened new doors to my future in the hospitality industry and has helped me learn so much more about cake decorating and what can be achieved," says Kleoppel.

Kleoppel demonstrated learning to a greater degree by challenging herself to apply her knowledge to an engagement opportunity outside of the classroom.

UCM Students use Fashion Talents to Benefit Breast Cancer Survivors

Jessica Williams (left) and Maggie Hofflelmeyer (right) put the finishing touches on their bras for Art Bra Kansas City.

UCM Fashion and Merchandising students are using their passion for fashion to help raise awareness for breast cancer, one bra at a time. Students in the Fashion Business Association and Delta Zeta are preparing for their second experience at Art Bra Kansas City.

Art Bra KC is a unique fundraising event that showcases work-of-art bras to be auctioned to celebrate breast cancer survivors while raising money for uninsured and underinsured individuals battling cancer.

About 90 UCM students, faculty and alumni volunteered at Art Bra KC last year. Students designed and donated 40 bras, and the same amount is expected for this year's event.

"We are really proud to have the opportunity to work again in donating bras and volunteering," says Billie Perrin, instructor in the Fashion and Apparel Merchandising program.

It is anticipated that 80 to 100 students will volunteer this year. The event takes place May 1, and tickets can be purchased at

Melissa Sperfslage, a senior Fashion and Merchandising student attended Art Bra KC last year. "It was rewarding to be able to use what I am passionate about to give back to other people and to a meaningful cause," she says.

By using their skills in fashion to benefit breast cancer survivors and patients, Fashion and Merchandising students experience learning to a greater degree.

Students Create Organization, Aid Those Affected by Addiction

Recovery Central members Josh Knight (second from left), Sadie Purinton (middle) and Nicholle Scheibe (right) pose with Senator Pearce and President Ambrose at the Recovery Support conference held at UCM in December 2014.

Participating in college life can be difficult for students affected by addiction. After seeing the need for a collegiate recovery support group, senior Child and Family Development majors Nicholle Scheibe and Sadie Purinton took the initiative to form Recovery Central.

Dedicated to supporting those in recovery and those who come from families with addiction, Recovery Central aims to be a resource to students who may not have a place to share their struggles and concerns.

"Although addiction and recovery are not always openly talked about, it is something that college students struggle with, either as family members, friends or personally," says Scheibe. "I hope that Recovery Central will help to break the stigma often associated with addiction and recovery."

Founded with the help of faculty advisor Adriatik Likcani, Recovery Central is joining the growing movement of college recovery programs in the state. Students within the organization actively advocate recovery programs by participating in statewide conferences and meeting with legislators.

Purinton believes this organization offers hope for many students who have nowhere to turn.

"We have a heart for service and have family members who have struggled with addiction," says Purinton. "We aim to promote healing, awareness and hope. We believe recovery is possible."

By demonstrating a culture of service and advocating recovery, Scheibe and Purinton are learning to a greater degree.

Tunnel of Oppression Educates About Privilege, Race, Class and Gender

The harmfulness of judging others based on their race is one of the tough topics addressed in the Tunnel of Oppression.

A long but somber and respectful line stood outside the Elliott Student Union ballroom. Students, faculty and staff were waiting to tour the Tunnel of Oppression to understand social justice issues and modern forms of oppression affecting their community.

As part of Unity Week, tour groups were taken through various rooms built in the ballroom, each room addressed a specific issue. Presentations conducted by on-campus groups such as the Association of Black Collegians and Students Advocating Gender Equality educated participants on ways oppression occurs and how to become more conscious of others' experiences because of their race, class or gender.

"I wanted to get a broader understanding of injustices that still happen," says Bobby Jackson, a senior Social Work major. "Whether it's race or sexuality, these forms of oppression need to be addressed."

The Tunnel of Oppression was just one part of Unity Week, Feb. 23 - 26, which also featured a panel on sexuality entitled "Guess Who’s Straight," "The Pocketbook Monologues" and a performance by poet Carlos Andrés Gómez.

"Unity Week highlights different identities to bring awareness to the UCM community," adds Brianna Nesbitt, graduate assistant for diversity education.

By touring the Tunnel of Oppression, UCM's community members became more mindful of the experiences of others and experienced learning to a greater degree.

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