Skip to Main Navigation | Skip to Content

Learning to a Greater Degree Award Winners

Congratulations to Adriatik Likcani and Jonathan Ellis, the spring 2015 recipients of the Learning to a Greater Degree Award.

Learning to a Greater Degree graphic

UCM Feature Stories

UCM Vocal Performance Student Participates in an Opera Abroad

UCM student Amber Naugle poses with French composer, Isabelle Aboulker during her opera experience in Périgueux, France.

Amber Naugle, a senior double majoring in Vocal Performance and Psychology, had the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to perform in a French opera during the summer of 2015.

Naugle had the chance to experience the world of professional opera after she sent a video audition to the Franco-American Vocal Academy. She was cast in L'Enfant et les Sortilèges by Maurice Ravel and left for Périgueux, France in July. The UCM International Studies office and the Office of Undergraduate Research provided funding for her travels. While in France, Naugle received vocal lessons and worked one-on-one with French composer, Isabelle Aboulker.

"She gave me a deeper understanding of French Mélodie," says Naugle. "She also helped me understand the style of noted French composers like Fauré and Debussy."

Naugle experienced performing in a professional opera alongside a small ensemble orchestra and conductor. She credits the training she received in her vocal performance classes at UCM for leading her toward this opera role.

"Ravel's music is not easy to learn, so having music theory, aural training, and voice classes made learning the music less difficult," says Naugle.

By gaining worldly perspective and experience in a professional opera, Naugle experienced learning to a greater degree.

Students Traveled to Belize to Study Marine Life

Junior Kailey Fuchs poses with a sea cucumber. Students observed many types of marine life in the Belize Barrier Reef.

Most people go to Belize for the tropical setting and beautiful beaches. This summer, a few UCM students had a different reason to visit: to study the marine environment of the Belize Barrier Reef.

Students in the Marine Ecology Field Course traveled to San Pedro, Belize, home of the second-largest reef in the world. They snorkeled among marine life and collected data for research proposals they developed prior to the trip.

The students' findings are being used to build a database of information about the reef, which other students will add to on future visits. Scott Lankford and Steve Wilson, co-instructors of the course, expect that this database will be used for years to come not only by UCM students, but also by other researchers and policy makers.

"We didn't just go to Belize, we practiced real marine biology," says Lankford. "It's a great way for students to experience an environment that you can't find in Missouri."

During the trip, students applied everything they had learned in the classroom.

"This experience was one of the best decisions I have ever made," says Shannon Dexter, a senior Integrative Animal Science major with a minor in Chemistry. "It made me a better scientist."

By gaining hands-on experience researching marine life, Marine Ecology Field Course students experienced learning to a greater degree.

Student, Alumnus Use Internship To Help Complete High-Impact Construction Project

UCM student and intern, Caleb Skaggs proudly stands outside of The Crossing - South at Holden. A high-impact project he helped contribute to by applying classroom lessons to a real-world construction site.

Freddy Allison, McCownGordon Construction general superintendent for The Crossing - South at Holden at the University of Central Missouri, played an important role as the internship facilitator for seven UCM students throughout the duration of the project.

Allison, a UCM Construction Management alum, attributes his career success to his first internship experience. "To take what you've learned in the classroom and apply it in the three-dimensional form gives you that 'aha' moment," says Allison.

Caleb Skaggs, a senior studying Construction Management and one of the UCM McCownGordon interns, used technology equipped with the latest interactive construction management applications on this real-world project. With guidance from Allison, Skaggs was provided an iPad with the PlanGrid app to help him manage the daily punch list, a key construction assignment.

"The importance of an internship experience is huge. Getting the school aspect is definitely important, but you're going to learn more by actually getting out there and getting hands on," says Skaggs.

By coupling future-focused academics with engaged-learning internships, UCM alumni and students are learning to a greater degree.

Honors College Student Gains Business Experience in the Netherlands

Honors College student Mackenzie Harding stands outside the Philips headquarters in Amsterdam, Netherlands after her group pitched the winning product idea.

As a busy college student and Jennies volleyball player, Mackenzie Harding always knew she wanted to study abroad during the summer. When she learned about "Doing Business in Europe," an Honors College summer abroad program, she decided to take advantage of the opportunity. With support from the UCM Foundation Honors College Fund, including a travel grant of $1,000, Harding left for Hanze University in Groningen, Netherlands in May 2014.

A Nursing major with a minor in Business Administration, Harding felt this program would benefit her career path by giving her the chance to conduct research on the business market and culture of the Netherlands.

One class offered her the opportunity to compete in small groups to pitch a product to Philips, a well-known technology company based in Amsterdam. Philips executives selected her group's product pitch as the winning idea.

During her study tour, Harding not only learned how government, culture and customs are important factors in international business, but she also made long-lasting memories and friendships.

"I had no idea how much I would enjoy the experience of meeting new friends and seeing how other parts of the world live their lives. It was truly amazing," says Harding.

By gaining worldly perspective through a study abroad program offered by The Honors College at UCM, Harding experienced learning to a greater degree.

Department of Aviation Introduces Red-Tailed Cessna as Tribute to Tuskegee Airmen

The red tail of the Cessna Skyhawk 172S will serve as a reminder of the character and service of the Tuskegee Airmen.

At a time when African Americans could not serve their country, a group of men overcame adversity to serve in World War II. Known as the Tuskegee Airmen, these brave men became one of the most well-known and respected groups of combat pilots in history.

As a tribute to the Tuskegee Airmen, who were known for their red-tailed planes, the Department of Aviation at UCM has introduced a Cessna Skyhawk 172S aircraft with its tail painted red.

"These men were my heroes growing up," says Tony Monetti, assistant dean of Aviation. "We want to encourage our students to look at these men as role models."

Aviation faculty often reference the Tuskegee Airmen as an example of character and hard work for students to emulate. UCM Aviation and the Heart of America chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen now hope to work together to inspire students interested in aviation.

"We will continue working to keep the legacy of the Airmen alive," says Ormer Rogers, past president of the Heart of America chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen. "We also want to expand our opportunities to encourage young people to enter the field of aviation."

By striving to emulate the character of the Tuskegee Airmen, the students and faculty in the Department of Aviation are learning to a greater degree.

Read more feature stories.