Roo Honors Academy

Roo Honors Academy is a one-week program designed to academically challenge and expand the minds of high school students who are entering grades 9, 10, 11, and 12. The program will take place June 21-25, 2021, 9:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m. at UMKC’s Volker campus. Students will choose one morning and one afternoon course from among those offered (see course descriptions below). Students will need to bring their own lunch, except on Friday. Students will receive a free t-shirt.

The cost of the program will be announced soon. This is a selective program accepting a maximum of 30 students, and applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. Application deadline: To be announced. Click here to complete the Roo Honors Academy application.

Course Descriptions

Students will choose one morning and one afternoon course from among the following options. These are non-credit courses taught by UMKC faculty members, designed to offer academic challenge and intellectual engagement to high school students. Students who successfully complete each course will receive a Recognition of Achievement from the UMKC Honors College.

  • Environmental Justice (morning session with Dr. Stephen Christ). How is it that certain groups of people do not have access to basic resources, or are systematically burdened with pollution or environmental hazards to a greater extent than other groups? We begin by exploring foundational concepts such as justice, race, and class, and applying them to a series of case studies of environmental (in)justice in the U.S. Through these case studies, we will examine environmental justice issues in urban and rural settings; the strategies and politics of poor peoples’ environmental justice movements; problems associated with protected areas (e.g. national parks) and local populations; oil development and indigenous peoples, and climate justice in the global South.


  • Evolution of Cities and Wildlife (morning session with Dr. Aaron Reed). Human population growth is, ultimately, the most significant challenge to the conservation of wild populations. This class will explore how cities have evolved over time, how they threaten wildlife populations, and how conservation priorities are being incorporated in cities. We will test these ideas in the field by sampling diversity of vertebrates and pollinators in the Kansas City urban core.


  • Cuisine as Culture (afternoon session with Dr. Stephen Christ). Food, from its production to consumption, is a powerful symbol of social and cultural meaning. How food is prepared and consumed is packed with cultural, gender, religious, ethnic, and class meanings among many others. We will explore how and why we eat what we do, and how food is used to create distinctions between individuals and communities.


  • Kansas City as Text (afternoon session with Dr. Henrietta Rix Wood). This class will use the “City as Text” learning method, which sends students into communities to investigate important issues and questions by mapping, observing, listening, and reflecting. Dr. Wood and UMKC Honors students, as well as many other Honors students and faculty, have used this fun and innovative educational approach for many years. A key component of the “City as Text” learning method is the “walkabout,” a structured investigation of a particular place. In teams on designated days, you will investigate the UMKC campus and the Country Club Plaza. We will prepare for the walkabouts by addressing conceptions of culture and background material. At the end of the week, you will collaborate with peers to produce a short presentation about what you learned.

How to Apply

Interested students should complete the program application form. On the application, students will be asked to respond to the following essay prompt: “What is the importance of being a self-starter when it comes to learning?” This is a selective program accepting a maximum of 30 students, and applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. Application deadline: Coming soon.

Program Cost and Local Transportation

The cost of this program is $265. Need-based scholarships may be available; please contact Margo Gamache, Director of Student Services, with questions on need-based scholarships. The program fee includes the cost of instruction, Friday’s lunch, and a t-shirt. This is a non-residential program, and local transportation is not provided, so students will need to be dropped off at UMKC before 9:00 a.m. and picked up after 4:30 p.m. on each day of this five-day program, June 21-25, 2021.

If you have questions, please email Margo Gamache, Director of Student Services, UMKC Honors College: