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UCM Feature Stories

Chasing a Dream Results in a Racing Championship

Students with the Automotive Technology Management program gained valuable experience by building a B-modified race car that won in professional competition.

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

Students gain hands-on experience in the newly renovated food lab under Chef Karen Breshears' (left) instruction.

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

Lambda Alpha Epsilon, with support from the Department of Criminal Justice, won their 12th consecutive Sweepstake Award at the National Conference in March 2014.

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

General Motors' Phil Griggs hands the keys to the new Chevrolet Malibu to Scott Wilson, Doug Short and Alex Richards, UCM's Automotive Technology Management faculty.

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"

UCM senior Public Relations major Brooklyn Lutz, right, joins ZF Motorsports race reporter Toni Rizzuti, center, for an interview with Magnus Racing Porsche driver Andy Lally.

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.

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