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UCM Feature Stories

Graduate Applies Skills, Knowledge at Black & Veatch

"As long as I have drive and perseverance, I do not doubt that I will surpass my goals," UCM alumnus Ezekiel Vann says.

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

"It's a very rewarding feeling to see the dances come to life," UCM student Natalie Krahenbuhl says.

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

Missouri Innovation Campus students, Joey Nooner, left, Lee's Summit West, and Armaja LaRue-Hill, Raytown South, expect to earn a UCM degree within two years after completing high school.

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

Daniel Bender worked with his classmates to raise more than $1,000 for a local charity.

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 organizes retreats to inspire and empower young women.

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

The IPR team is leading UCM's first social media night at the Jan. 23 Blackout basketball 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

Lewandowski Ponders Challenges of World Cities

Joseph Lewandowski encourages students to take a worldly perspective on local problems.

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

Whitney Martens' experience in the State Farm Marketing and Sales Competition led her to an internship opportunity.

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

Jim Staab helps students understand the value of engaging in political discussion.

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 gains real-life experience while serving the Warrensburg community.

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

Susan Stockton's passion and engagement earned her the 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

President of the UCM Board of Governors "Bunky Wright" (left) and UCM President Chuck Ambrose (right) present Lacy Stephens (center) 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

2012 Homecoming Royalty, Mohit Srivastava and Rebecca Hotop.

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

Senior Lauren Riddle and UCM President Chuck Ambrose display the design for neckties and scarves created as part of a class project.

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

Three members of the 2012 Peer Voter Registrar team were, left to right, Amanda Sasek, Mikey Tyler and Kayla Meine.

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

UCM senior Kristen Hirlinger benefits from the equipment available to music technology majors.

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 (far left) poses with a group of students before the Big Pink tournament.

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 learns about the operation of an offset printing press.

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

Amy Garcia gains hands-on experience in the 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 shares his experience through engaging, hands-on coursework.

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

Nicholas Baeth will live, teach and research in Austria, gaining a broader perspective to share with his UCM students.

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

UCM professor Wayne Miller will spend six months writing and teaching while immersed in the culture at Queen's University in Ireland.

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.

Aviation Department's Future Focus Gives Graduates an Edge

UCM students gain experience flying UCM's glass cockpit airplanes.

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.

Future-Focused Recreation Center Earns LEED Gold Certification

The reuse of the former Morrow pool to collect storm water is one of the attributes that contributed to the rec center's LEED Gold achievement.

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, Habitat for Humanity volunteer

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.