UCM Feature Stories
Student Volunteers Share Their Enthusiasm for Reading
The annual Children's Literature Festival entered its 49th year this month at the University of Central Missouri. More than 3,000 young readers, accompanied by 600 adults, had the opportunity to meet the authors and illustrators of the books they love.
Thirty-five volunteers assisted with the festival, including 27 UCM students who experienced engaged learning while interacting with young readers. Among them were Jessica Nutt, a senior safety science major, and Madelyn Siegismund, a senior elementary education major.
For Madelyn, her first experience volunteering last year brought her back this year to add to her preparation for the elementary classroom.
"It was a great to experience the enthusiasm the children have for reading," she said. "The festival gets students interested in reading by allowing them to meet the authors. Purchasing the book after hearing the author talk about it helps them connect with the concept of how a story in a book is created."
For Jessica, volunteering for the festival was result of her own experience attending the festival as a middle school student.
"This really helped me focus on my own love of literature and continue my enthusiasm for books that I've had since I was a little kid," she said. "It's great to be a part of that experience again."
"The student volunteers are vital to the success of the festival each year," said Elisabeth Tessone, coordinator of volunteers. "Their leadership and teamwork ensures that attendees have the best possible experience."
IPR Students Gain Experience in Future-Focused Communication
The fast pace of the Mules and Jennies basketball games on Feb. 16 added to the challenges faced by UCM's student-led Innovative Public Relations team as they hosted a successful social media night during the games.
#teamUCM was planned and executed by the UCM public relations students, supplementing the action of the game with a continuous stream of interaction with Mules and Jennies fans via social media. The result was an increased awareness of and participation in UCM Athletics.
Preparation began months in advance of the event. A series of tweets and Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook posts were carefully scripted. Research was completed regarding trivia questions and answers, and strategies for managing the technology required were developed.
The IPR team also worked closely with UCM Athletic Promotions to assure the sequence of quick-moving events would flow as planned. They collaborated with Katie Smith, UCM Athletics video coordinator, to produce a video promoting the event, and with University Relations staff to create a Shapchat filter.
"It was great to see the campus and community come together and participate on social media during the game," said Elizabeth Fisher, senior public relations major and member of the IPR team. "I gained some great social media skills and learned what goes into developing and executing a successful social media event."
Study in Nicaragua Offers Opportunities for Service Learning, Cultural Exchange
For 15 UCM students, a trip to Nicaragua last May offered opportunities for service learning and cultural experiences that added a worldly perspective to their UCM experience.
Five nursing students and 10 athletic training students joined Rachel Brown, instructor in athletic training and UCM ROTC fighting Mules athletic trainer, for a two week trip to Masaya, Nicaragua. As they provided public health medical assessments, they also experienced the local culture through a variety of activities.
"It was an opportunity to step out of their comfort zones and sharpen the skills they've learned in classes," Brown said. "They also learned to deal with challenges, such as the language barrier, and to adapt to another culture while dealing with uncommon medical issues."
"I've never been out of the United States, so completing public health assessments for people in a less developed country was a unique experience,â€쳌 said Mitch Wilhoit, a junior athletic training major.
Yoshi Kojima, a junior athletic training major from Japan, provided athletic training services to the area professional baseball team while with the group in Nicaragua. The experience proved to be important an important element of his career goal of working with professional baseball in Japan.
"Seeing and experiencing a developing country played an important role in my overall experience as an international student at UCM," Kojima said.
Living the Farm Life Offers UCM Students Real-Life Experience
Makenzi Stoy, a UCM animal science major, is gaining hands-on experience in the demands of farm life.
Makenzi is one of seven UCM students who live in three residential properties on the UCM Mitchell Street and Prussing Research farms. Each student works 40 hours per week under the supervision of Farm Manager Travis Hume in exchange for a private room. In addition to duties on the two farms, the students also manage crop production on university property near Max B. Swisher Skyhaven Airport.
The students have varied majors related to agriculture. One of Makenzi's roommates is a biology major with an interest in wildlife, while another is a horticulture major.
The two farms include 370 acres with goats, cattle, hogs, two horses and two mules to be tended in addition to crops. While student are assigned specific duties, all of them may be called upon for specific projects when needed.
"Last week, we built fence at Mitchell," Hume said. "All seven worked together, and we finished it in no time." He added that the diversity of the students' academic backgrounds is valuable when assessing needs on the farm.
"This is hands-on experience I can't get in class," Makenzi said, adding that her goal after graduation is to become a field agent or own her own farming operation. "It also provides me with great opportunities for resume building and networking."
UCM-The Beat Provides Students with State-of-the-Art Experience
UCM offers a variety of opportunities for students to gain hands-on experiences that complement their coursework. Launched earlier this month, UCM-The Beat, a streaming online radio station coordinated through the Digital Media Production program, offers programming developed and produced by UCM students.
Among them is UCM junior Dan Swoboda, a digital media production major. He produces and DJs a show featuring rock and roll, his favorite music genre. Students may submit proposals for programming for a variety of formats, including talk, music and sports broadcasting.
"When I transferred here, I knew I wanted to get to into radio, and I wanted to take advantage of this opportunity," Swoboda said. "Music is my forte, so I went with what I knew and was comfortable with."
"It's a great opportunity for students to work with radio before they make the transition to TV,â€쳌 said Joe Moore, who with Shannon Johnson supervises UCM-The Beat and teaches digital media courses. "They have freedom to develop and produce programming without the demographic and market considerations necessary in advertising-supported broadcasting."
"We're also working with other academic areas to develop ideas for programming," Johnson said. "Students don't have to be a digital media production major to make a programming proposal."
To listen to The Beat, download the free UCM Radio-The Beat app, or go to digitalburg.com for the link.
UCM-The Beat gives young broadcasters the chance to experience engaged learning with a focus on the future of broadcasting while learning to a greater degree.