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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 Graphic Design Students Collaborate for Good Cause

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UCm alumna Annie Frisbie, center, worked with one of five groups of UCM graphic design students to create original designs for the KC Pet Project.


University of Central Missouri graphic design students recently applied what they have learned as they provided a service for the KC Pet Project, Kansas City, Missouri's animal shelter.

UCM graphic design alumna Annie Frisbie, marketing and design specialist for KC Pet Project, and Eric Stykel, assistant professor of graphic design, created an opportunity for the UCM AIGA student group to work with Frisbie to create marketing materials for The Giving Tree, a KC Pet Project initiative to generate donations for the shelter during the holidays.

Twenty students participated, divided into groups of four. Each team began working at 6 p.m. on a Friday evening, developing a poster, flier and Instagram posts for The Giving Tree, a KC Pet Project campaign for the holidays. Working through the evening and into the wee hours of the morning, each team presented Frisbie with their completed work for her selection of the winning design.

"It was a great opportunity to work with other in a group," said Kasi Yalon, a senior graphic design and illustration major. "We learned how to communicate and collaborate, openly and respectfully, and we all added to our portfolios."

"The students were also giving back by helping the shelter establish a design for this campaign," Frisbie said. "All of the designs were fabulous. I hope to continue showing UCM AIGA students the world of nonprofit design and all you can do in it."

UCM graphic design students experienced engaged learning while providing a community service, examples of learning to a greater degree.

Mock Accident Exercises Provide Hands-on Learning Opportunities

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Students in the Accident Investigation course collect the information and evidence needed to determine what went wrong in a staged mock accident scenario.


The scene was set outside UCM's W.C. Morris Science Building. Five work-related mock accident scenarios, with simulated fatal injuries, had been created, and it was up to students in Accident Investigation class in UCM's Occupational Safety and Health program to determine what had gone terribly wrong.

"It's a real-life opportunity for students in this course to better apply what has been taught in the classroom and to understand what will be expected of them in similar situations in the real world," said John Zey, professor of safety sciences.

The mock accident exercises were started in 2004 as an applied exercise for students in the program's capstone class. Complex scenarios were created, with real-life emergency responders participating.

Over time, faculty realized the value in involving students in the Accident Investigation course in the exercises. For the last several years, the students in the capstone course have worked in teams to design the scenarios and participate in role playing, with teams of accident investigation students completed the investigations.

Zey noted that several smaller scenarios are now created instead of one large one, allowing students to work in smaller, more effective groups.

"Once the AI students have completed their investigation of the scene, they present their findings in class." Zey said.

UCM occupational safety students participating in engaged learning opportunities created by mock accident exercises are learning to a greater degree.

Office of Volunteer Services Nurtures UCM Culture of Service

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UCM students provided assistance to Warrensburg Main Street as part of the 2017 Homecoming Day of Service.


The culture of service at the University of Central Missouri is an important part of the UCM experience. An important element in providing the opportunities for service is the Office of Volunteer Services.

Kristie Brinkley, assistant director of volunteer services, has coordinated volunteers at UCM for 17 years, connecting volunteers and opportunities for the campus and the surrounding community.

"Our office provides the network for opportunities to serve," she said. Campus and community organizations can contact her for volunteers, and she will also find volunteer opportunities for organizations seeking opportunities to serve.

The office coordinates hundreds of student volunteers for the Homecoming and MLK service days, well as for Project Community Connect, a community event. Brinkley also sponsors The Breakers, a group of students who spend spring break serving Habitat for Humanity.

The campus blood drives, coordinated by Volunteer Services, have broken donor records, and the annual Volunteer Fair brings community organizations to campus to connect with student volunteers. Community organizations like Warrensburg Main Street rely on Volunteer Services for student volunteers for a variety of events throughout the year.

Brinkley said the commitment to the four reasons to believe has created an awareness of the existing culture of service on campus.

"There will always be a need for volunteers," Brinkley said, "and UCM's campus community will be here to serve that need."

Through UCM Volunteer Services, students are learning to a greater degree through their service to their community.

Marketing Competition Provides Opportunities for Engaged Learning

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Team members Tara Hansen, left, and Ashlee Eastman, right, with team coach Tyler Hirlinger, display their winnings from the State Farm Marketing Competition.


The annual State Farm Marketing and Sales Competition at UCM each fall provides engaged learning for students as they make sales and marketing presentations to a team of judges from the profession.

The UCM team of Tara Hansen and Ashlee Eastman recently competed against teams from 12 universities from across the country and networked with sales professionals who volunteered their time to serve as judges.

Hansen and Eastman claimed the Platinum Award in the team competition, bringing home the overall top prize. Hansen finished second in Sales Role Play, and Eastman finished fourth in both the customer service and sales role plays.

UCM marketing faculty member Tyler Hirlinger coaches the team. Hirlinger also was a member of the State Farm Competition team during his undergraduate studies at UCM.

"The competition forced me out of my comfort zone, which was invaluable to my confidence and career in the real world," Hirlinger said. "I emphasized to my team members that this was the ultimate experience to learn and grow."

"It was not only a great sales experience, but it also put me in contact with top executives," Hansen said. "It provided valuable insight regarding the use of skills learned in the classroom. It not only tested my skills, but refined them."

Opportunities for engaged learning through the State Farm Marketing and Sales Competition allow UCM marketing students to experience Learning to a Greater Degree.

UCM Senior Focuses on a Career in Cybersecurity

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UCM senior Grant Pinkley prepares for a future-focused career in cybersecurity in the cybersecurity lab in the W.C. Morris Science Building.


An interest in computer technology brought UCM senior Grant Pinkley to the University of Central Missouri for a degree in computer science. However, when he heard about a new major in cybersecurity during his sophomore year, he focused on a growing aspect of the future of technology.

"I was taking the required courses for a computer science degree, and I had always been interested the issue of security," Grant said. "During my sophomore year, I was working with the department advisor when I heard about the new cybersecurity degree. I knew then that it was something I wanted to do."

The undergraduate program in cybersecurity prepares graduates to enter the fastest growing segment of the technology field. They are equipped to meet the demand for a workforce with the scientific and technical training necessary to succeed in a career that will have a significant impact on the future.

The completion of the new cybersecurity lab in the recently renovated W.C. Morris Science Building has provided state-of-the-art technology for Grant and the other students enrolled in the program.

"I'm learning that it's not just about knowing what to do if something happens, but also how to figure out how it happened and prevent it from happening again," Grant said. "I hope to find a job working with network security and help people who are dealing with security challenges in their everyday lives."

Grant Pinkley's future-focused studies have provided him with the opportunity for Learning to a Greater Degree.

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