A Sense of Prague: HC Student’s Summer Study Abroad

When Kyra Crabtree left Kansas City to study in the Czech Republic this summer, she knew she wanted to do everything possible to remember her adventures abroad. Inspired by a class experience at UMKC, she decided to keep a “senses journal” in which she would daily record something she saw, heard, felt, smelled, or tasted. As Kyra notes: “It wasn’t just about what cool things I saw, but what I absorbed from everything around me. My experiences overwhelmed me and excited my soul in ways that I didn’t expect to feel.”

The sounds of the Czech Republic were “just beyond our classroom window, drawing us to the outside world” and, even though there were many different tourists speaking many different languages, Kyra noted that they could all go to a ballet or an opera and understand the story. Smells from the Prague streets varied from “trashcans overflowing with stale bread for pigeons” to “rose gardens, parks, and flower shops that perfumed the air” and made her wish she was better at gardening. On every street corner there was the smell of hot food and Kyra kept a record of dishes she tried: sachertorte, currywurst, schnitzel, and shawarma.

Kyra admits that she never imagined that she would study in the Czech Republic:
“But during my time there I allowed myself to be completely immersed in their culture. I saw towering cliffsides, heard classical opera, walked on ancient roads, smelled roses in palace gardens, and ate like a local. This wasn’t a vacation, where I would sit on a beach and do nothing. It also wasn’t a field trip, where a teacher would hold my hand through everything. This was nothing short of an experience, one that has shaped me and the way I view myself and the world. I am thrilled that I chose to study abroad and would visit Prague again if given the chance.”




Show Your Support–Join HC Friends!

The Honors College Friends (HCF) will work with Honors College Faculty and Staff to create a welcoming and supportive place for perpetually curious students.  The purpose of HCF is to create and nurture meaningful relationships between students, faculty, parents, family, staff, UMKC administrators, alumni, and others.  Honors College Friends will support HC students financially through dues and fundraisers, helping promote community through not only local social events but also field trips to conferences and educational experiences beyond our campus.

If you are an Honors College alumni or are connected in any way to a current Honors College student or just want to see the UMKC Honors College continue to grow and serve more students, you can help!

  • Become a member of HCF ($30/semester or $50/year)
  • Sign up for our email list to get the Honors College Herald published quarterly online.
  • Volunteer to serve on the HCF Board.
  • Follow us on social media.
  • Other ideas?  Let us know!


Honors College Roos are Everywhere

Shiona Deliozar explored Fiji, New Zealand, and…Middle Earth?

Caroline Moriarty visited Amman, Jordan, where she studied Arabic and Jordanian colloquialisms.


Katelyn McAlister studied abroad in the UK and met with several large British businesses.


Cemile Arabaci spent her summer conducting dark matter annihilation analysis research at Arizona State University.


Sam Simmons reconnected with nature in the Rocky Mountain National Park.

New HC Mentoring Program Supports Incoming Students

Whether you are a first-year or a transfer student, the transition to a new college environment can be overwhelming. Starting this fall, an innovative Honors College program will offer support to incoming students by teaming up Older, Wiser Learners (OWLs) with first-year and transfer students (Joeys) new to the UMKC Honors College.  Being an OWL is an opportunity for current HC sophomores and juniors to build lasting relationships with younger HC students. Each OWL will mentor a “mob” of three to seven Joeys, helping the Joeys feel welcomed and integrated into the campus community. OWLs were in touch with their assigned students by email during the summer and greeted them in person at the Honors College BBQ in August. OWLs will meet with their Joeys individually before midterms and finals, attend group events during the fall, and continue the mentor relationship in the spring term.

Thirty Honors College students volunteered for this new program and attended training last spring. Mentorship basics included OWL expectations and Code of Conduct, as well as a review of information about the Honors College and available campus resources for students. OWLs learned about best practices for guiding new students through common issues they might face on campus. They also learned what to do if they find they need guidance helping a Joey with a problem or if they were concerned about the safety of their Joey.

OWLs are enthusiastic about this new Honors College venture:

“I’m excited about being an OWL Mentor because as a freshman student I would not have succeeded if it were not for my more ‘social’ friends. As a commuter student, I didn’t stay on campus much. Having someone closer to you as a mentor/guide (rather than SIs and faculty) who has been through the journey reinforces strategies to tackle life and college. I hope to be that person for others because I was completely lost my first semester and was not aware of the bountiful resources for success.”

Johnson Poon
B.S. Biology | Pre-Medicine | Chemistry Minor
Biomedical Sciences Emphasis

What’s next in building support for student success? The Honors College is looking for recent HC graduates who will volunteer to become Graduation Guides, mentoring our seniors as they negotiate job hunting, applying for grad school, and getting ready for next steps after graduation. Interested applicants should contact HC student advisor Margo Gamache (gamachem@umkc.edu).



Meet a Lucerna Author: Carolyn Kovar

My Lucerna project analyzes the flash mobs and violence at the Country Club Plaza in recent years. I look back at the legacy of the Troost Divide and racial inequality as potential causes for unrest in this central location in Kansas City. Then I analyze how the media has covered the events and how various communities have looked to amend the situation, ranging from police reforms to curfews. My research highlights flash mobs as a remarkable way of drawing attention to problems that exist in our city that would otherwise be overlooked.

Why are you interested in this topic?

My interest in this subject grew steadily as I worked on the Plaza for three and a half years. However, it was when one of my good friends, who also works on the Plaza, was in the midst of a night of a violent disturbance that I decided to research it. As I learned more, my interest grew. I began to think that the disturbances on the Plaza were caused by social problems such as racial segregation in Kansas City and were staged in an affluent area to draw media attention. I see the flash mobs as invaluable reminders of social problems, and I am passionate about changing the way they are presented.

What have been the benefits and challenges of this project?

A benefit to studying flash mobs on the Country Club Plaza has been my proximity to the events. During the months of my research, I continued to find racist comments and media portrayals, as well as continued violence, that further illustrate and prove my key arguments. Problems I have encountered in my research are primarily biased media portrayals and lack of in-depth articles and accounts on which to build my studies. Academic studies by Bill Wasik and Brian J. Houston were invaluable for my research, and I drew heavily upon them, but it would have been easier with more studies to draw upon.

What is your advice for students who are interested in publishing their work in Lucerna?

My main advice to students looking to publish in Lucerna would be to pick a good advisor. My work would not have been possible without the continued assistance of Dr. Henrietta Rix Wood of the Honors College. She walked with me through the entire process of editing and polishing my research, reading over five separate drafts. She went above and beyond the call of duty. This is an invaluable asset to anyone new, as I was, to the research and publishing process.

What are your professional plans or goals?

My research focuses on the urban problems of racial and socioeconomic inequality due to residential housing, education, and job segregation. In Spring 2019, I am working as an intern for Congressman Emanuel Cleaver II. My academic goals for the future are to complete my Master’s Degree in Public Administration or Public Policy after I graduate in December 2019. Then I would like to work either in a governmental agency focusing on urban affairs and eventually enter politics or work on the developmental board of a nonprofit trying to address the same issues I have studied.

Meet a Lucerna Author: Tyler Evans

My Lucerna project is about the Kansas City No Violence Alliance (KC NoVA). It is a multifaceted organization that brings City Hall, the Police Department, the Prosecutor’s Office, Social Services, and community betterment programs together to reduce gun violence in Kansas City. KC NoVA uses a unique policing method called focused deterrence that, in contrast to traditional policing, encourages individuals who are involved in gangs and group violence to stop committing crimes by offering resources to them. If they refuse this help and continue wreaking havoc in the community, then the police department will swiftly arrest them.

Why are you interested in this topic?

A majority of Kansas Citians are aware of the Troost Divide and the poverty and crime rates of East Kansas City. There are multiple economic and social factors that cause injustice. Yet simply bringing awareness to the plight of people in need is not enough. Everyone in the community must act in order to reduce crime and break down barriers. I wanted to learn what community leaders are doing to address injustice and make the KC community safer. Therefore, I researched how multiple Kansas City community betterment programs joined forces to deter crime and improve the communities of East Kansas City through the initiative known as the Kansas City No Violence Alliance (KC NoVA). The aspect of KC NoVA that I most appreciate is how it provides resources to people in need in our community, turning once violent individuals into responsible citizens, which in effect makes the community safer.

What have been the benefits and challenges of this project?

My favorite part of this project was gathering primary sources. I got to talk to people in the police department, criminal justice professors, the prosecutor’s department, and also hear how people in the community feel about this initiative and how to address gun violence in our community. The biggest challenge was organizing all of the sources and information I collected into a coherent, consistent argument.

What is your advice for students who are interested in publishing their work in Lucerna?

I would tell students to be continuously curious and never stop searching for answers to your questions. Also, don’t be afraid to ask people for interviews/help—the worst thing that can happen is that they say, “No.”

What are your professional plans or goals?

I currently work for a marketing research firm and plan on working with this firm after graduation. I also plan on pursuing a graduate degree. I am considering whether to pursue an MBA or a graduate degree in psychology.

Meet a Lucerna Author: Hannah Doggett

My Lucerna project is about what factors predict the development of PTSD. Interestingly, we found guilt to have significant predictive power in that, as guilt increases, it predicts a decrease in PTSD symptoms.

Why are you interested in this topic?

My grandpa, also my hero, fought in Vietnam. When I was a kid, I cherished “story time with Pawpaw.” He would tell me about his life and fun times in the military, as a state trooper, about my grandma and parents, etc. It wasn’t until I got older he began to tell me some of the harder stories—stories of his battle with PTSD, being spit on and called names when he returned home in uniform, how none of his doctors believed PTSD was something to treat or diagnose, and how he suffered alone for too long before he found people who did believe him and helped him. As I learned more about his life, I researched the history of PTSD and what we know about this diagnosis. It was from this research and my grandpa’s stories and struggles that I become motivated to study PTSD and trauma in adults to help people who are suffering.


What have been the benefits and challenges of this project?

First, the benefits have far outweighed the challenges. The experience I gained during this project has put me ahead of several of my colleagues in graduate school. I met and worked with some of the most skilled and knowledgeable students and professors I know at UMKC. I was able to present at local, regional, and international conferences where I gained public speaking experience and learned from some of the leading experts in their fields. Most importantly, I built relationships with individuals I would not have if I not done this project. The most challenging part was to be both organized and flexible. Research never goes as planned. That’s the most important lesson I learned and it taught me to “go with the flow.”


What is your advice for students who are interested in publishing their work in Lucerna?

Never be afraid to ask other professors or students for help or advice. It never hurts to have additional eyes reading and critiquing your paper. One major recommendation is to present at the UMKC annual symposium. Because it’s a smaller setting where you’ll know a large number of students and professors, they will hold back less than people at an international conference who don’t know you. Take notes when they give advice and rework the problem if you need to. Never shy away from critiques, even if it means more work for you.


What are your professional plans or goals?

I’m currently in the MA psychology program at West Texas A & M University (WTAMU). The next step for me will be a PhD program in clinical psychology and then a post-doctoral internship with the Air Force for three years. Then I will either continue to work as a clinical psychologist for the military and pursue a master’s in psychopharmacology so I can gain prescribing powers, or I will leave the military and teach. I love teaching so I think I will end up doing it at some point in my life.



Meet a Lucerna Author: Whitney White

My Lucerna project is about the Divergence Theorem, a famous mathematical theorem with common applications in the branch of physics. I analyze the 1831 proof of The Divergence Theorem and connect it to our modern understanding of it as printed in our textbooks. This original proof had not previously been translated into English and is first published here in this paper. I also hope to rightfully credit the theorem’s initial author, Michael Ostrogradsky. Though his theorem is commonplace, his name is not, and I believe he should be recognized.

Why are you interested in this topic?

I graduated from UMKC in December 2018, and I have a B.S. in Mathematics and a B.S. in Physics. These two fields are my passions, and The Divergence Theorem is used in both. The most incredible part of this project was getting my hands on the original historical document, in French, from 1832, at Linda Hall Library. I was floored to hold that history in my hands, and I was over the moon to learn that no translation existed. The history is incredible and being the first person to translate it makes me feel like I have a small part in this history as well.

What have been the benefits and challenges of this project?

I don’t speak French. Translating a very important piece of history from an unfamiliar language is scary and was the greatest challenge of my project. Of course, I did not want to disrespect or misrepresent the original work, so I had to be meticulous and accurate. I was lucky when my professor found a paper that translated common French mathematical terms into English. After completing the translation and connecting the original and modern proofs of The Divergence Theorem, I now better understand it. This more in-depth understanding of the logic behind each line of the proof is the greatest personal benefit of completing this project.

What is your advice for students who are interested in publishing their work in Lucerna?

A student hoping to publish in Lucerna should pick a novel topic that they find compelling. If you care about your research, it will show. It is also important to start your work early, compose multiple drafts, and ask for help in tearing them apart.

What are your professional plans or goals?

I plan to pursue a doctorate in Biostatistics at KU Medical Center beginning Fall of 2019. I will use that experience to pursue further research opportunities in the field of medical statistics. In my future work, I hope to continue to tie together past and present knowledge to spread new information.

Meet a Lucerna Author: Sami Gul

My Lucerna project is about the relationship between far-right support and immigrant presence, education levels, and unemployment rates, which I studied by using the U.K. Electoral Commission data, French Interior Ministry Election data, the U.K. Census data and French National Institute for Statistics and Economic Studies (INSEE) data. I found that constituency areas with a higher percentage of immigrant population and people with high educational qualifications tend to have less support for far right-wing parties and candidates. However, a higher unemployment rate increases the support for far-right parties in a district.

Why are you interested in this topic?

The increased immigrant population across Europe in the last few years and the policies of European countries towards immigrants made me think about immigration in Europe. Moreover, during the last two decades, there has been a rise of support for extreme right-wing parties and candidates in Western European countries. Since these two incidents happened simultaneously, I became interested in this topic. Therefore, I examined the relationship between them.

What have been the benefits and challenges of this project?

This project helps us understand when people are focused on the benefits of immigration and when they are focused on the costs of immigration. It also finds the interaction effect between the size of immigration and support for far-right wing parties. The challenge of this project was to find data that tells the exact numbers of immigrants in certain years. I had to estimate these numbers by using a formula. Also, it was challenging to figure out how people were defined as immigrants.

What is your advice for students who are interested in publishing their work in Lucerna?

You should not hesitate to start a project. After you start the project, instead of trying to finish it  all at once, you should make progress as time goes on. The University of Missouri–Kansas City has great faculty members, and you should ask your faculty advisor for help when you hit a problem. It is also good to have their feedback and comments on your project as you go.

What are your professional plans or goals?

I want to pursue a PhD program in political science. My research interests are primarily in the fields of methodology and political behavior, with a specific interest in elections and voting. In graduate school, I plan to use quantitative methods in order to both develop new methods and analyze political behavior. Ultimately, I want to come up with methods that improve election predictions in regions based on their demographic characteristics by using big time-series cross-district data. Then, I want to be an outstanding professor in the field of political methodology and political behavior.


Meet a Lucerna Author: Emily Rackers

My Lucerna project is about the emergence of modern dance during racial tension in the classical ballet realm. I examine the reasons why people of color felt pushed out of ballet and how the creation of modern dance as a “counterculture” to ballet has led to a continuous division between the two art forms. Through research, interviews, and personal experience, I try to look at solutions to this problem.

Why are you interested in this topic?

I am a dance major and have always been intrigued by the history of various dance forms. Ballet is my first love, but I have begun to enjoy modern dance more as a college student. However, while learning about various companies and history in college, I have seen so much how the racial tension between these two art forms continues today.

What have been the benefits and challenges of this project?

The main benefit of working on this project was learning more about an art form I love so much. Additionally, I was able to gain more perspective on a field I plan to work in. The biggest challenge was working with some of my interviewees, as they were hesitant to answer the more controversial questions. It was also hard at times to keep my own personal opinions out of the research-heavy and interview sections.

What is your advice for students who are interested in publishing their work in Lucerna?

My advice for students is to just go for it! Find a professor/mentor who knows what it takes to submit, and then work with them. Write about something you are passionate about and bring a fresh opinion to the table.

What are your professional plans or goals?

My professional goal is to dance with a contemporary company such as Visceral Dance for a few years. Eventually, I would like to return to school to obtain a master’s in arts administration. From there I will be able to help manage and run professional dance companies.