Margo Gamache Rising Star Award

Margo Gamache, the Director of Student Services for the Honors College, has won the UMKC Rising Star Award for 2021. Margo will be honored at the 2021 Staff Awards ceremony at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 20 via Zoom. (The invitation will be posted on the Honors College website on April 19.)

The Rising Star Award recognizes a staff member who makes significant contributions to their area and UMKC within the first five years of their service. The winner of this award demonstrates extraordinary commitment through their innovative ideas, passion, and leadership.

“I am honored to have been chosen for the Rising Star Award,” Margo said. “I am so thankful to my co-workers who offered support and suggestions every time I came with a new idea. Our Honors community is special, and I am honored to have the opportunity to nurture it. I look forward to helping UMKC students thrive well into the future!”

Honors College Executive Assistant Alisa Carmichael said she nominated Margo for the award because Margo provides “the best possible university experience for the students she serves. She is always willing to go above and beyond to see that students succeed, both in their present academic work as well as in their preparations for the future. Perhaps even more importantly at this time, Margo has a strong sense of empathy with students and the challenges they face. This has been particularly evident during the pandemic, as she has focused on ways to build a community of caring for our students, working to mitigate the isolation and uncertainty many students have felt during these periods of quarantine.”

Margo joined the Honors College in October 2018 after working at the UMKC School of Medicine for one and one-half years.

“Margo has accomplished truly impressive things during her two years in the Honors College,” said Honors College Dean James McKusick. “She has greatly improved student recruitment, enrollment, and retention, and she has made substantive innovations in our workflow and technology infrastructure.”

Dean Jim noted that Margo has helped increase enrollment by almost 100 students and achieve a record projected enrollment of 500 honors students for Fall 2021.

“Margo also has shown exceptional commitment to the development of ethical and effective leadership skills among the students who hold leadership positions in Honors College student organizations. Seeing that our various student groups needed to develop better interpersonal communication, she volunteered to facilitate a monthly Student Executive Council meeting where all of our student leaders can coordinate plans and develop consistent shared objectives for their respective groups. Under her careful guidance and mentoring, this monthly meeting has become a model for respectful and inclusive student self-governance within the Honors College,” Dean Jim said.

Commenting on Margo’s well-known “straightforward, no-nonsense demeanor,” Honors College Director Gayle Levy said that Margo “gives students confidence. She assists the students who are having difficulties in using the tools they have to resolve their issues and she emboldens those who are doing well to go further, whether that is to complete a senior honors thesis, to study abroad, or to apply for a research opportunity. The mentoring programs she created for the Honor College—Honors College Preceptors, faculty who informally mentor groups of students from varied disciplines—and the OWL (Older, Wiser Learner) program in which students mentor and socially interact with small groups of “joeys” or first-year students, serve as models for the greater UMKC community.”

Margo was born in Iowa City and grew up in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. She studied Mechanical Engineering and English at Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla and English at the University of Iowa in Iowa City before earning a bachelor’s degree in Communications-Publications with a minor in Marketing at Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois. Margo has a master’s degree in Leadership in Human Service Administration from Bradley. She lives in Lee’s Summit with her husband and two young sons.

Congratulations to Margo and thanks to her for all that she does for the Honors College.

Honors College student Niki Joshi wins prestigious fellowship

Honors College student Niki Joshi will never forget how she celebrated St. Patrick’s Day in 2021.

As the recipient of a competitive fellowship that will send her to Ireland this summer, she  appeared at an online event with US Vice President Kamala Harris, the Taoiseach (Prime Minister) of Ireland, Micheál Martin, and Ambassador of Ireland to the United States, Daniel Mulhall on March 17.

Mulhall introduced Niki and 13 other US college students as Frederick Douglass Global Fellows for 2021. The Douglass fellowship honors the famous nineteenth-century African American abolitionist and aims to help students of color develop skills in leadership, social justice, agitation for positive change, and cross-cultural understanding.

The program will be based in Dublin this summer to commemorate the 175th anniversary of the meeting of Douglass and Irish reformer Daniel O’Connell in Dublin in 1845 during Douglass’ campaign against slavery and oppression.

Nettie Washington Douglass, the great-great-granddaughter of Frederick Douglass, also attended the March 17 event.

Niki said she was grateful for the recognition of Harris, Martin, Mulhall, and Nettie Douglass, and for the discussion of the life and legacy of Frederick Douglass. “It was an incredible opportunity to learn more about the emotional significance and impact that Douglass’s time in Ireland had on his development and activism. I’m deeply humbled and honored to have the opportunity to follow his journey and walk in his footsteps.”

 Niki looks forward to meeting the other Douglass Fellows in person in Dublin. “All of us are in a pretty active group chat where we often share news, personal updates, and words of encouragement. Not only are they all inspiring and accomplished leaders, but they’re also genuinely kind and supportive people,” she said.

 Douglass Fellows are selected for their academic achievement, communication skills, and commitment to social justice. Niki is a sophomore pursuing double majors in History and English—Creative Writing with a minor in Film Studies. She is one of seven UMKC Trustees’ Scholars for 2019 and has earned merit scholarships from the UMKC departments of English and History. As the senior editor and writer for Her Campus at UMKC, Niki recently reported on activist Jane Fonda and film director Ava Du Vernay. She also contributes to the UNews and is the video and production coordinator of TEDxRockhill.

Honors College Dean James McKusick said that Niki is an engaged student leader at UMKC who “has shown exceptional talent and dedication in her off-campus activities, which include pre-professional internships at three prestigious local firms, as well as volunteer service for UNICEF and dedicated work as a community organizer for a local advocacy group, March For Our Lives. Through these varied work experiences, Ms. Joshi has become deeply invested in building stronger communities in her hometown of Kansas City, and along the way, she has become adept at building bridges between people of diverse heritage throughout our metro area.”

To view the March 17 video, go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vxZW2StJH_I

To hear from Niki and other Douglass fellows, go to  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WGJyOD_xqdw

 

 

Roo Honors Academy

The Roo Honors Academy invites high school students to participate in a fun and intellectually engaging one-week summer enrichment program, June 21-25, 2021, in the Honors College at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

The Academy will offer non-credit classes on environmental justice, food culture, the evolution of cities and wildlife, and the culture and history of Kansas City. For course descriptions, click on

Participants will choose one morning course and one afternoon course taught by UMKC faculty members. All classes will be held from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on the Volker campus, near the Country Club Plaza.

Students need to provide their own transportation to and from the campus and bring their own lunch, except on Friday. Students who successfully complete each course will receive a “Recognition of Achievement” certificate from the UMKC Honors College and a souvenir T-shirt.

The fee for the selective program open to thirty students in grades 9-12 is $265; children of UMKC employees are eligible for a $20 discount. Need-based scholarships may be available. For more information about scholarships or other questions about the Academy, please contact Margo Gamache, Honors College Director of Student Services.

The application deadline is May 1, 2021, and applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. Click here to complete the Roo Honors Academy application.

 To view the Roo Honors Academy video, go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ba2F572uUO8