HCSA Co-President Talks About Uniting Voices

Third-year Honors College student Samira Zantout is co-president of the Honors College Student Association (HCSA). The organization meets every other Wednesday from 3:00-4:00pm in Cherry Hall, room 415. All honors students are welcome to attend!

  1. In your own words, how would you describe HCSA as an organization, and what is its primary mission within the Honors College?

    I would describe HCSA as the aspiring Social Chair of the Honors College. HCSA is the student platform for change and social networking: it is through HCSA that any student can voice their opinions and ideas and turn those ambitions into reality.

  1. What is your role in HCSA, and how long have you been a part of the organization?

    I am the Co-President of HCSA, alongside my fellow Co-President Deena Essa. This is my third year in the Honors College, and my first year as an active member of HCSA.

  1. What is an exciting project that the organization currently has in place?

    The most recent project we are very excited to put together is the Thanksgiving Potluck coming up before thanksgiving break: who doesn’t love free food and Gates BBQ? Our spring semester will be packed with ice skating nights to de-stress the start of the semester, movie and picnic nights under the stars, a Student Speaker Event to give our students a professional platform to spread their ideas, hangouts at Chipotle and outings at Yogurtini, etc.!

  1. Why did you decide to be involved and run for leadership in this organization? What is advantageous about taking part in the group?

    The Honors College is always evolving and growing, with the most recent changes shifting HCSA’s platform from being curriculum-oriented to student-oriented. Deena and I saw an opportunity to give HCSA a new identity that will better serve and unite our Honors students. We ran for office to bring that vision to life! Taking part in HCSA has been particularly eye-opening to the diverse interests that exist in our program. It is extremely satisfying to know that I’m taking part in serving and uniting all of those different voices!

Honors College Students Named in Ink’s 30 Under 30

Honors College students LeAnna Cates and Tin Ho were both recently featured in Ink’s 30 Under 30!

LeAnna Cates graduated from the Honors College in 2017 with a degree in biology. While at UMKC, she was actively involved with Lucerna, UMKC’s only interdisciplinary undergraduate research journal. She is still actively involved in research on the Zika virus with the UMKC Interdisciplinary Applied Mathematics Group. LeAnna has also spoken fervently about how the Honors College compelled her to attend UMKC, and credits her honors professors with helping her develop the leadership and resilience that have allowed her to succeed:

I chose UMKC because of the Honors College. One professor in particular, Dr. Gayle Levy, arranged a very personalized visit for me. I shadowed an honors student in an honors genetics course; that was the first time I had heard about the Stowers Institute for Medical Research, and I knew I wanted to be a part of the exciting research going on in Kansas City.

You can read more about LeAnna’s projects on UMKC Today, and you can read her full Ink 30 Under 30 profile here.

Tin Ho came to UMKC as an international student from Vietnam. In the short time that he has been in Kansas City, he has created three successful tech startup companies, including a video game development agency and a food delivery app. Tin enjoys the thrill that accompanies new innovations and is actively looking for more opportunities to solve problems and help various populations in a wide array of ways.

Learn more about Tin’s journey by reading his Ink 30 Under 30 profile, and see the full list of winners here.

HDIA Co-President Discusses Organization’s Mission

Honors College junior Kayla Reifel is co-president of the Honors Diversity and Inclusion Advocates (HDIA). The organization meets every other Tuesday evenings at 7pm in Cherry Hall, room 428. Contact faculty advisor Dr. Stephen Christ to find more information about getting involved!

  1. In your own words, how would you describe HDIA as an organization, and what is its primary mission within the Honors College?

    HDIA is an organization that promotes and encourages discussion on social justice issues, diversity, and minorities. We network with other organizations and faculty/staff to cosponsor events with hopes of recruiting and retaining new members into the Honors College and HDIA. Our primary mission within the Honors College is to recruit minorities into the Honors College to create a more inclusive and diverse student body.

  1. What is your role in HDIA, and how long have you been a part of the organization?

    My role as Co-president in HDIA is to lead our meetings, plan events, coordinate with other Honors College organizations, and promote diversity and inclusivity within HDIA and UMKC. I’ve been a member of HDIA since it was established last fall.

  1. What is an exciting project that the organization currently has in place?

    An exciting project that HDIA has been working on for many months now is a guest speaker lecture event. Dr. Hawley, a geneticist from Stowers, kindly donated his time to lecture about discrimination in science, and how genetics play a role in discrimination. My hopes for this event are to shed light on a type of discrimination not many people think about.

  1. Why did you decide to be involved and run for leadership in this organization? What is advantageous about taking part in the group?

    I decided to involve myself within HDIA because I find it important to discuss some of the issues people face everyday in regards to discrimination, stereotypes, biases, and I enjoy brainstorming solutions to these issues. HDIA creates a space for me to voice my opinions about these issues and also gain new perspectives from other people. I find that every meeting I learn something new from my peers. It also allows me to use the solutions HDIA comes up with to combat some of these problems that occur within UMKC and the Honors College. By being co-president, I am more deeply involved with the organization and find it easier turn my thoughts into actions.

Alpha Lambda Delta President Shares Reflections

Honors College sophomore Josie Pennington is the President of Alpha Lambda Delta, and she wants you to join! She recently answered a few of our questions about the organization, and what it means to her:

  1. What is Alpha Lambda Delta?

Alpha Lambda Delta is an honor society that students are invited to join after their first semester at UMKC if they have attained a 3.5 GPA or higher, are ranked in the top 20% of their class, and are enrolled as full-time students. We encourage high academic achievement and challenge each of our members to get involved in the UMKC and Kansas City communities through various service projects.

  1. How can students get involved?

After your first semester at UMKC, if you have met the eligibility requirements, you will receive an invitation from us to join! I definitely encourage anyone who is interested in getting involved to come to our first informational session on Alpha Lambda Delta, taking place November 2nd at 6pm.

  1. How have you benefited from this organization?

Because Alpha Lambda Delta encourages students in their second semester at UMKC to become the next year’s leadership, it offers an amazing opportunity that not many other organizations can. For example, I became the president of a chapter of a nationally recognized honor society in only my sophomore year because of the way we are organized – most of our leadership positions will be held by sophomores or students going into their third semester. Whether you seek out a position on the executive team or want to take lead on a service project or become the head of a committee, ALD is full of invaluable leadership opportunities.

  1. What’s the best advice you have for students wanting to get involved on campus?

Just do it. I know that it can seem daunting or inconvenient or less fun than just going home and watching Netflix, but I promise it will enrich your life here at UMKC so much. Whether you choose to do that through an honor society like ALD or an on-campus job or an intramural or an organization through your academic unit, just do it. Once you put yourself out there and start getting regularly involved, you won’t regret it.

Interested in learning more? Contact us and we’ll put you in touch with the right people!

Honors Students Attend Dinner with Professors

On September 21, honors students attended Dinner with Professors in Oak Street Hall. Over 40 honors students and five faculty members joined together for a pasta dinner from Waldo Pizza. Students were able to meet one another and get to know their professors outside a classroom setting.

Interested in attending the next Dinner with Professors? Keep an eye on the Honors College weekly e-newsletter for updates!

(Not signed up for the weekly e-newsletter? Let us know and we’ll add you to the list.)