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Learning to a Greater Degree Award Winners

Congratulations to Colin Comer and Emily Northen, the fall 2016 recipients of the Learning to a Greater Degree Award.


UCM Feature Stories

Peck, Kim Recognized With Learning to a Greater Degree Awards

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Dr. Marlys Peck, associate professor of social work, left, and UCM junior Katie Kim were recognized by the UCM Board of Governors with the Spring 2018 Learning to a Greater Degree Awards


Recipients of the Spring 2018 Learning to a Greater Degree Awards were recognized at the April 27 meeting of the UCM Board of Governors.

Katie Kim, a junior international studies major, was recognized for her commitment to providing assistance to UCM's international students. Under her leadership, "From My World to Yours" takes essential items donated by graduating international students and shares them with incoming international students. Katie also participates in the Friendship Families program through the MAPS office, providing transportation and assistance to international students.

Katie's commitment to service adds another dimension to the UCM worldly experience for UCM international and domestic students alike.

Dr. Marlys Peck, associate professor and coordinator of the Social Work program, reaches beyond the campus and the classroom to share her expertise and personal experiences. In addition to her course load, she serves as faculty advisor to the Association of Social Work Students, accompanying them on a service trips to New Orleans and Joplin. She also served on the planning committee for the national student association convention.

Dr. Peck co-authored the applications for the UCM Alumni Foundation Opportunity Grant to start the Campus Cupboard at UCM, serves on the board of directors of the senior center in Warrensburg, as she also has done in Cole Camp and Sedalia, and serves on the board of the ECHO childhood hunger program at UCM.

Dr. Peck provides unique engaged learning experiences for her students while serving the campus and community.

Katie and Dr. Peck exemplify UCM's culture of service, engaged learning and worldly experience, creating opportunities for UCM students to experience learning to a greater degree.

Oxfam Hunger Banquet Encourages Awareness of Social Issue

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The Oxfam Hunger Banquet allows UCM students to learn about influencing social behavior as well as the problem of world hunger.


Students in Wendy Geiger's Social Influence course are given the opportunity to apply what they learn about persuading people to act while expanding their own knowledge about the worldwide problem of hunger.

The annual Oxfam Hunger Banquet tasks students in the course with persuading people to attend the banquet, where hunger is illustrated firsthand. Upon arrival, participants draw a ticket that allows them to partake of a meal similar to one available to people in specific socio-economic groups.

"Fifty percent of the world has more than enough to eat," Geiger said. "Persons with that ticket get a full, three-course meal with tea or water at a table with linens. Thirty-five percent of the world has barely enough to eat. Those with that ticket get beans and rice with water at a bare table. The rest, those who don't get enough to eat to replace calories expended, only get rice and water and sit on the floor."

Participants are then asked to explain how it feels to watch some eat a full meal, while some are left to eat less. They also are asked to realize that, in many parts of the world, it is easy to slip from one group to another. Donations of cash and nonperishable foods collected are given to the Warrensburg Food Center.

"The students not only take away a better understanding of how to influence social behavior to create awareness, but also a true understanding of hunger, both around the world and here at home," Geiger said. "We encourage them to take the Oxfam banquet concept with them when they leave UCM and share it."

Through engaged learning, service to the community and gaining a worldly perspective, UCM students are learning to a greater degree.

Halen Brothers Expand the Horizons of Young UCM Musicians

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Eric and David Halen worked with members of UCM string quartets in a master class during their recent visit to their alma mater.


UCM alumni Eric and David Halen recently returned to UCM to perform in concert in Hart Recital Hall, where they performed as undergraduates studying under their father, the late Walter Halen. They also engaged with students and shared their experiences as professional musicians and symphony concertmasters.

Eric and David conducted a master class with members of two quartets enrolled in a string ensemble course under the direction of John Rutland and Michael Bersin. They listened to each group perform, providing examples and instruction on how the students could improve.

In addition to instruction on technique, the Halens also answered questions about pursuing a career in music and meeting the challenges of performing while teaching. They encouraged the students to pursue their love of music by pursuing all avenues for performance open to them to remain competitive while honing their skills.

"It was refreshing to hear feedback from professionals who can give you a different perspective on technique," said Devin Saferite, a junior violin performance major.

For Riann Mack, a sophomore music education major, it was an opportunity to take her classroom instruction to the next level.

"I love to teach, but I also love to perform," she said. "It was wonderful to learn how to go about it from professionals who do both."

Through the generosity of the Halen brothers in sharing their insights and career experiences, UCM students experienced learning to a greater degree.

UCM Sophomore Will Gain Valuable Research Experience

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Ashton Miller


UCM sophomore Ashton Miller will gain valuable, hands-on experience this summer that will serve her well in her future career in medicine.

Ashton was selected to attend the Advanced Summer Program for Investigation and Research Education (ASPIRE) Clinical Research Training Center at Washington University in June and July. Under the direction of Washington University School of Medicine clinical researchers, ASPIRE participants will be introduced to medical research and opportunities to further their interest in the medical field.

The participants will work a 40-hour week as full-time members of a research team, learning about all aspects of research through a supervised project in a laboratory setting. They also will be required to complete training in research conduct and attend weekly research seminars.

Ashton already has two years of experience as a certified nursing assistant, a first step toward her career in medicine. When notified by a UCM faculty member of this opportunity to take her commitment to a career in medicine one step further, she jumped at the chance.

"I'm looking forward to being able to participate in a mentored research project as an undergraduate," Ashton said. "I can develop relationships with research physicians and learn about medical school in general, and I hope to apply what I bring back to my undergraduate research project with The Honors College."

Through engaged learning that she can apply to her future career, Ashton is learning to a greater degree.

UCM CJ Students Earn Honors, Experience through Teamwork, Competition

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Members of the UCM GED chapter of CJA-LAE and their sponsors exhbit their trophies and medals from the national competition in Cleveland.


Practice makes perfect is an adage that the member of UCM's Gamma Epsilon Delta chapter of American Criminal Justice Association-Lambda Alpha Epsilon take seriously.

Their commitment to hard work and preparation has allowed them to bring home their 16th consecutive national championship from the annual LAE national competition in Cleveland, providing them with engaged learning experiences and a focus on their futures.

The hard work starts with the beginning of fall semester, when members of the team begin preparing for regional competition in October and national competition in March. They meet several hours a day, five days a week, to prepare in the areas of crime scene investigation, physical agility, firearms and academic testing.

Dakota Persinger, a senior criminal justice major, is president of the local chapter and a third year participant in the national competiton.

"It's allowed me to become more involved," Persinger said. "The preparation and competitions have provided me with more experiences and professional connections than a typical student. We interact with law enforcement professionals, and I've gained knowledge beyond the textbooks with hands-on experiences. It helps make all of us more marketable when we graduate."

"The wholeness of the program and how they prepare for it gives these students something unique," said Gregg Etter, professor of criminal justice and one of the group's sponsors. "The confidence they gain and the team spirit allows them to develop their own individual talents as they work together."

Through their teamwork and participation at the national level as they prepare for their futures, UCM students are learning to a greater degree.

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