UCM Feature Stories
IPR Students Gain Valuable Experience in the Professional Realm
Providing students with real-life experiences is a key element of their academic success. For students in Innovative Public Relations, UCM's student-led public relations firm, the opportunity to work with UCM public relations alumnus and retired telecommunications executive Larry Schnieders on a documentary film project has yielded rewarding results.
IPR students are enrolled in UCM's public relations program. IPR works out of University Relations under the supervision of University Relations staff and public relations faculty.
UCM faculty and current and former members of IPR recently attended the annual PRISM Awards, hosted by the Greater Kansas City Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America, where they claimed a Silver PRISM Award for their work on the documentary film "Together We're Stronger." The film documents the come-from-behind victory of the former Bishop Lillis High School basketball team to claim the 1961 state championship.
Working over a period three semesters, students enrolled in IPR assisted with fundraising for the project, promoting the premiere of the film in Kansas City, and supported the film through social media, media, and web.
"UCM PR students work at a professional level that makes them unique among their peers," said Tricia Hansen-Horn, professor of marketing and public relations and faculty advisor for IPR. "Their professional prowess was recognized, and it was great to see these aspiring professionals be recognized by industry leaders."
Through engaged learning, UCM's IPR students have gained skills to take them into the future
Cricket Club Introduces UCM to an Exciting Part of World Culture
The sport of cricket-traditionally a British favorite-has been introduced to the University of Central Missouri and the surrounding community due to the interest of a group of UCM international students from India and the commitment of the university's Office of Student Activities.
Seeking an opportunity to play cricket after they arrived in Warrensburg to study at UCM, the students organized and hosted their first intramural tournament on East Field. In the spring of 2016, they began competing in the Midwest Cricket League as the UCM Cricket Club and playing in matches in the Kansas City metropolitan area.
As interest grew, the Office of Student Activities made the commitment to construct a cricket pitch at UCM's South Recreation Complex. Once completed, the Cricket Club began to seek opportunities to compete with other teams. As the club enters its third year, it hosted its first intercollegiate tournament this past weekend.
"We'd like to have more teams for local tournaments, but we understand it's hard to walk into something that's new to you," said Joleen Byerline, club sponsor. She added that current club members are willing to provide instruction, and they hope to see continued diversity in the membership of the club from the campus and the community.
Mentors Offer Inspiration for Student Entrepreneurs
Entrepreneurs take ideas and turn them into reality. It takes planning and creativity, and even the most successful entrepreneur will attest to the value of collaboration with those who have been successful in bringing their ideas to reality.
For young entrepreneurs in UCM's Harmon College of Business and Professional Studies, that opportunity recently arrived in the form of UCM's Big Idea Conference. With inspiration from Kansas City entrepreneur and businessman Danny O'Neill, 92 UCM students formed 16 teams to work with 46 area business and professional leaders who joined them in "speed-networking," mentoring them in the development of business models for their ideas.
At the end of the day, each team made a presentation, and, based upon the decision of a panel of judges, winners were rewarded with first, second and third place prizes. However, all of the students were winners as they took away valuable encouragement, knowledge and motivation provided by mentors who had been in their shoes.
"Hearing professionals from different fields giving similar advice reminded me why basic understanding of business, along with creativity, is so crucial to being successful in today's world," said UCM student Connor Lake. "I recognized that I have a lot of opportunities outside of a regular desk job. I am also more confident in working in group planning scenarios. Even if every idea isn"t a winner, holding back and not contributing to the group won't help."
Study and Travel Abroad Offer UCM Senior a Once-in-a Lifetime Experience
For Anthony Morris, a senior Business Management major, the opportunity to study abroad in France for four months during spring semester 2016 as a Generation Study Abroad Scholarship recipient provided an aspect of the university experience that intrigued him.
During his four months of studying international business at the Universite Catholique de Lyon, in Lyon, he traveled throughout France. However, when his study in Lyon came to end, Anthony decided he wasn't done experiencing what travel had to offer.
"I had traveled in France, and academically I had learned a great deal about international business," he said, "but I didn't know much about the other places I'd heard so much about."
Leaving Lyon, he embarked on a summer trip to 24 countries between the end of April and Aug. 1. He traveled across Europe from Great Britain to Ukraine and the Czech Republic, with ventures into Asia and Africa. Traveling alone, he experienced a variety of cultures on a very limited budget.
In the process, he learned not only about world cultures, but also about his own ability to adapt and survive, interacting with people and relying on his own ability to navigate across the continent in spite of the language barriers. He returned to UCM this fall with a greater understanding of himself and the world.
"I've always been raised to believe if there is a will, there is a way,' Anthony said. 'I learned a lot from staying in hostels, meeting people from all walks of life. Traveling alone, it's all on you. You have no choice but to learn everything you can while you're there.' Anthony Morris' worldly experience as a UCM student exemplifies learning to a greater degree.
Service Trip Also Provides Opportunities for Engaged Learning
Six UCM students and veterans, accompanied two members of the UCM faculty and staff, spent a week this past summer with the Konnarock Trail Crew in Sugar Grove, Va., in a conservation effort with the Appalachian Trail Conservancy.
In addition to hiking three miles to the top of the mountain each day, the group logged nearly 300 volunteer hours hauling tools and equipment to the top of the 5,500 ft. peak, felling trees to widen the trails, transforming boulders into mountain steps, and crushing rock fill to eroded areas.
Prior to making the trip, the group engaged in six week of academic curriculum and will continue to engage students in community service activities.
"Military and veteran students often aren't engaged with the universities they attend," said Jeff Huffman, UCM's director of Military and Veterans Services. "We want to change that at UCM and connect our military-affiliated students in a way that's meaningful to them."
Those making the trip were students Michael Carle, Elizabeth Crawford, Dustin Johns, Galen Livingston, Kaitlin Lowe and Ian Powers. They were accompanied by Huffman and Chris Stockdale, chair of the UCM Department of Academic Enrichment.
Their service exemplifies UCM's culture of service and offers ongoing opportunities for engaged learning.