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UCM Feature Stories
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.