Honors College Student Published in Black Ball Journal

Meet Honors College student Tyler Evans! His research on baseball pioneer Buck O’Neill was recently published in Black Ball Vol. 9, a peer-reviewed journal exploring the history of Negro Leagues Baseball. Learn more about his work below.

  1. What is your year and major?

    I’m a junior majoring in business administration with an emphasis in marketing. I’m also pursuing a minor in statistics.

  2. How long have you been a part of UMKC Honors College?

    Since my freshman year – Fall 2015.

  3. How did Dr. Wood’s class inspire you to write this article?

    The assignment of “Honors 215: Researching Kansas City” was to pursue a research project about a topic in Kansas City we found to be interesting. I am a lifelong baseball fan and wanted to learn more about Negro Leagues Baseball, a league of African American and Black Caribbean ballplayers who were excluded from Major League Baseball (MLB) because of segregation. In my opinion, Kansas City is a focal point of Negro Leagues Baseball research as Kansas City is the current home of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. In addition, the Kansas City Monarchs were the longest existing Negro Leagues team, as the played approximately 35 years. Specifically, I wanted to focus on Monarchs’ first baseman and prominent Kansas Citian, Buck O’Neil. I admired Buck O’Neil because of his eternal optimism.

    I wanted to learn about the roots of O’Neil’s benevolent character and raise awareness of what he has done for the Kansas City community and the game of baseball. Though O’Neil was born in Florida, he loved Kansas City and considered this community to be his home. Therefore, there were a lot of resources at my disposal to write an interesting research paper about O’Neil and Negro Leagues Baseball. For example, I had the opportunity to interview O’Neil’s longtime friend and current director of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, Bob Kendrick. I also had the opportunity to interview another friend of O’Neil and prominent sports journalist, Joe Posnanski.

    At first, I thought interviewing O’Neil and Posnanski was a pipe dream, but Dr. Wood encouraged me to shoot for the stars and request to interview them. I was apprehensive, thinking they would not want to be bothered by a college student, but Dr. Wood answered, “Ask them. Why not? The worst thing that could happen is they say, ‘No’”. This journalistic determination drove me to succeed in attaining interviews from Kendrick and Posnanski along with other primary sources.

    In addition, Dr. Wood inspired us to think beyond the goal of getting a specific grade. The goal of Honors 215 was not to complete the paper in order to attain an ‘A,’ but to write an excellent research paper in order to receive the accolade of publishing it in a journal, which was another factor that made me passionate about the class and project.

  4. This is a huge accomplishment; how did the Honors College help you achieve this goal?

    The Honors College helped me achieve this goal by offering this interesting course (Honors 215), allowing me to work with Dr. Wood, who drastically improved my writing skills. Also, interacting and receiving feedback from honors students in the class was helpful and improved my article. My peers could empathize with my struggles throughout the research process (as they faced similar obstacles) and would help me move further in my research, such as brainstorming ideas when I was struggling to form a thesis statement, helping me overcome writer’s block, and suggesting how I could express my thoughts more concisely.

  5. Now that your article is published, do you have any upcoming projects?

    In Dr. Wood’s Discourse III class, I wrote a research paper about the Kansas City No Violence Alliance (KC NoVA), which is a multifaceted coalition that strives to reduce gun violence in Kansas City. KC NoVA consists of the police department, city hall, prosecutor’s office, and other public and private organizations who have united to make Kansas City a safer community. KC NoVA uses a unique policing strategy that analyzes networks of people involved in gun violence, identifies who is at the core of this activity, and attempts to persuade these people to stop committing violence. I find KC NoVA to be an interesting initiative because it attempts to forge a stronger connection between the police department and the community. In addition, one of KC NoVA’s goals is to offer those affected by gun violence every opportunity to leave this situation by helping them attain employment, providing counseling, and even offering housing away from the violence. I enjoyed this project as I was able to interview police officers, social workers, prosecutors, and criminal justice professors associated with KC NoVA. I plan to submit this research article to Lucerna.

  6. What advice would you give to a student looking to publish research?

    Never give up and never belittle yourself or your work. Don’t be afraid to ask for interviews or help with your research because as Dr. Wood said to me, “The worst thing they can say is ‘No’”. Keep digging for answers to seemingly impossible questions. After you complete your research, do not belittle your work, thinking that it will be rejected – submit it! Again, the worst thing they can say is, “No,” and even if it is rejected the editors will provide feedback of how you can improve your paper. Also, I would recommend taking courses with Dr. Wood. She is an excellent professor that pushes her students to produce their best work. I have developed substantially as a writer because of Dr. Wood and would not have achieved publication without her guidance and expertise.

Dr. Henrietta Rix Wood Featured on KCPL Website

The scholarship of Dr. Henrietta Rix Wood, an Associate Teaching Professor for the Honors College, is featured on The Pendergast Years: Kansas City in the Jazz Age & Great Depression, a new Kansas City Public Library website. Dr. Wood contributed an article about African American activist and journalist Lucile Bluford, who made history and newspaper headlines in 1939 when she tried to enroll in the racially segregated University of Missouri in Columbia. You can read the full article here.

Dr. Wood was invited to participate in The Pendergast Years by Dr. Diane Mutti Burke, an Associate Professor and Chairperson of the UMKC History Department and director of its Center for Midwestern Studies, which collaborated with the Kansas City Public Library on the website. 

Dr. Wood learned a lot about history and history writing through this project, and she plans to share this knowledge with honors students. “I have new empathy for my writing students and the challenge of communicating to different audiences,” she said. “I have written many academic papers and many articles for general audiences, but I never have adapted a long scholarly article into a short text for ordinary readers. The process was challenging, but I am really happy that lots of people can learn more about the remarkable actions of Lucile Bluford through the website.”

Part of the full-time faculty of the Honors College, Dr. Wood teaches writing, research, Anchor, and Discourse classes, and conducts archival research about the rhetorical activities of women in the United States during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Honors College Spotlight: Dr. Stephen Christ

Honors College Assistant Teaching Professor Dr. Stephen Christ joined the Honors College team at the start of the 2016-2017 school year. Read further to learn more about Dr. Christ!

  1. What courses do you teach at UMKC?

This semester, I taught Social Deviance, Anchor H299: Social Justice, and Anchor H399: Self, Society and the Sacred. In the spring, I will teach Social Deviance, Social Problems, and Anchor H298: The Idea of Culture.

  1. Of the classes you are teaching in the spring, which class are you most excited about?

Social deviance, because everyday you get to talk about something that is pretty wild.

  1. Where did you receive your educational background?

University of Missouri-Columbia.

  1. What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

I enjoy being active in sports (tennis, running, golf), reading, playing guitar, stargazing, and making time-lapse videos.

  1. What is the best advice you would give to a college student?

Believe in yourself. If you believe in yourself, you won’t take no for an answer—you won’t be devastated if you don’t get a scholarship. You’ll keep going.

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.)

Welcoming New Class of Honors Students

On Saturday, August 26, 2017, the Honors College welcomed a new class of nearly two hundred students – its largest and most diverse yet.

The 2017 Honors College Introduction featured activities such as icebreakers and a panel discussion, which allowed new freshman and transfer students to socialize and network with faculty and staff while receiving an overview of the honors experience at UMKC.

Representatives from the Academy of Integrated Arts, the Ewing Marion Kauffman School, and Enactus presented opportunities to get involved through the Honors College’s many community partnerships. Students also enjoyed tasty catering provided by Panera.