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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

UCM Board of Governors Presents Spring 2017 Learning to a Greater Degree Awards

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Recognized by the UCM Board of Governors with the Learning to Greater Degree Award were, left to right, Jacque Lebow RN; Julie Hentges, associate professor of elementary and childhood education; and UCM student Adriana Vivas.


Recipients of the spring 2017 Learning to a Greater Degree Awards were recognized by the UCM Board of Governors last Friday.

Adriana Vivas, a junior public relations major, was recognized as providing an example of UCM's culture of service, future focused academics and a worldly perspective. She has worked with the Elliott Student Union, Phi Sigma Pi, and the Student Organization of Latinos. She also served on a medical mission trip to South America and will serve as an intern this summer with the Student Press Organization in Minneapolis. Her career goal is to serve with the Peace Corps and work public relations in international business.

Julie Hentges, associate professor of elementary and childhood education, was recognized with the faculty award for bringing real world instruction into the classroom, providing opportunities for engaged learning, future focused academics, and the culture of service. She is the faculty advisor for the Kappa Delta Pi Education Honor Society, which partners with KMOS-TV for the Young Writers Contest and Young Authors Contest. She established a partnership with Head Start, allowing her students to lead in workshops. She believes that teacher education candidates are the future of education, and inspires her students to reach out into the community.

Jacque Lebow, RN, was recognized with the community award. As an emergency room nurse at St. Luke's East Hospital in Lee's Summit when a UCM international student from India studying at UCM-Lee's Summit lost his life in a tragic accident last fall, she made sure that the molathadu, a thread worn about the waist of Hindu men, was not removed, providing great comfort to his family and friends. She helped provide friends who had gathered with an opportunity to say goodbye to their friend, and she made arrangements for students and staff to grieve in privacy and peace. Her compassion and caring bridged the cultural gap, bringing cultures together, reinforcing the culture of service and the worldly perspective.

The awards recognized the commitment by the faculty and staff, students, and the community to the elements of Learning to a Greater Degree.

Backpack Journalists Learn About Modern Reporting, British Culture

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UCM backpack journalists Kaitlin Brothers and Denise Elam examine the culture of the British Isles by interviewing one of Edinburgh's street performers.


A team of UCM student journalists recently gained hands-on experience in modern reporting while exploring the culture of the British Isles.

Julie Lewis, instructor of communication, brought backpack journalism to life as she led five students in documenting the experiences of UCM's Montgomery Cup debate team via social media. Lewis and students Kaitlin Brothers and Denise Elam traveled with the team, while Austan Jones, Gareth Greenfield and Tayler Donaldson coordinated and produced local coverage at UCM.

Using only what they could carry in a backpack, Kaitlin and Denise documented the experiences of the debate team and the culture of the cities they visited. Coverage included interviewing the street performers commonly seen on the streets of Edinburgh.

"The goal was to provide the experience of covering stories within the moment using available digital technology," Lewis said. "It's very deadline driven with a quick turnaround."

Austan, Gareth and Tayler monitored the response of those who were receiving the reports while also producing local coverage with the same requirement of quick turnaround.

"It was interesting to see the response of people who could see and hear about what was happening almost immediately after it happened," Austan said. "It was a great way for these students to understand the demands of modern media and the expectations of media consumers," Lewis said. "They were able to see firsthand if this really is the professional lifestyle they would like to pursue."

Through engaged learning, UCM's backpack journalists gained a worldly perspective while learning to a greater degree.

Professional Recognition Reinforces Zey's Dedication to Student Success

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John Zey, professor of safety industrial hygiene and safety, has been named an AIHA Fellow by the American Industrial Hygiene Association.


John Zey's 21 years in the classroom at the University of Central Missouri have allowed him to perfect his craft of preparing safety and industrial hygiene professionals as he offers future-focused academic experiences for his students.

His dedication to excellence has been recognized by his peers as he has been named an AIHA Fellow by the American Industrial Hygiene Association, an honor bestowed upon only five percent of the group's membership.

Zey will receive the honor during the AIHA Fellow Special Interest Group meeting on June 6 in Seattle. He also will be honored during the Mark of Excellence Breakfast the next day.

Zey also brings to the classroom a 20-year career as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Public Health Service, assigned to the National Institute of Safety and Health. He received his bachelor's and master's degrees from UCM and a doctoral degree from the University of Missouri.

As he shares his wealth of experience and knowledge with his students, he also makes the extra effort to help them succeed, enriching their futures as safety professionals.

"John is always willing to put in extra time and effort to help students reach their academic and career goals," said Leigh Ann Blunt, chair of the School of Environmental, Physical and Applied Sciences. "He takes the initiative to really get to know his students and genuinely cares about their success." John Zey's recognition by his peers reinforces his commitment to providing his students with opportunities for learning to a greater degree.

International Competition Challenges Skills of UCM Technology Students

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Twelve UCM student competed in the NASA Human Exploration Rover Challenge at the UCM Space and Rocket Center.


Two teams of UCM students recently returned from NASA Human Exploration Rover Challenge at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Ala., with knowledge gained from hands-on experience.

For the third consecutive year, students from the School of Technology competed with vehicles they designed and built on an obstacle course with teams from 80 schools from around the world. The competition tests their abilities to create and operate the fastest vehicle in the competition, taking into consideration weight and number of components. To reach that goal, they applied what the previous year's teams had learned in the competition.

"They come onto the team with a variety of skills and knowledge," said instructor Shelby Scott, "but it's their ability to work together to solve the problems they encounter along the way that allows them to be successful."

The UCM teams returned with fourth and sixth place out of 80 teams in the obstacle course competition, along with first place in the Drive Train Technology Challenge with a design that drew the attention and praise of NASA engineers. In addition, they will pass what they learned onto next year's team.

"We learned about managing a project from beginning to end with collaboration and time management," said team member Mackenzie Lewin. "We applied what we learned hands-on. That's not necessarily something we can learn in the classroom."

UCM students applied skills, problem solving and teamwork to experience learning to a greater degree.

Global Vision Scholarship Offers Expanded Opportunities

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Global Vision 2016 participants experienced the Cuban culture, an opportunity that will be expanded to include more students this year.


The generosity of an anonymous donor to the UCM Foundation created the Global Vision Scholarship program, providing UCM students with service opportunities while experiencing the cultures of historically friendly areas of the world.

The donor recently increased funding for the program, resulting in an increase from 9 to 20 in the number of students who will experience a worldly perspective this summer. Global Vision sent four students to India in 2014, with six students traveling to St. Lucia in 2015. The opening of travel to Cuba allowed nine students to spend two weeks in the country last year. The expansion of the program will allow 20 students to return to Cuba this summer.

In addition to blogging about their experiences, the Global Vision participants also make a group public presentation upon their return. They report on the impact that the program has had on their lives, not only through the cultural experience, but also through the interaction with the people they meet and the circumstances in which they live.

"It's an opportunity unlike any other because there is no expense to the student," said Mike Sekelsky, associate dean of the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences and program coordinator. "It will now change the lives of 20 students at a time."

The growth of UCM's Global Vision Scholarship allows even more recipients to gain a worldly perspective that adds value to their UCM degrees while exemplifying UCM's culture of service.

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