Shefaa Allan wins Talbott Honors College Scholarship

Science student Shefaa Allan has received the Talbott Honors College Scholarship for 2020-2021. The scholarship is named for distinguished alumna and civic leader Linda Hood Talbott and is presented annually to a full-time Honors College student who has achieved academic excellence.

Shefaa is a rising junior majoring in biology with minors in chemistry and philosophy who plans to attend medical school and become a pathologist. She led an Honors Discussion Group in Spring 2020, started a UMKC student organization advocating for justice through education, and represented Palestinians in Culture Night 2019 at UMKC.

“Shefaa truly deserves this honor!,” said Dr. Gayle Levy, Honors College Director. “She has been the Honors Discussion Group leader for Cell Biology (Bio 202) since January and it is clear how much she cares about the participants and the Honors College as a whole. She has worked hard to migrate the Cell Bio HDG online during this challenging period and to support the honors students in her group as they face all of these sudden changes together.”

Shefaa describes herself as “a girl of Palestinian origin born and raised in the Midwest” and admits that she has struggled to merge her ethnic identity with her identity as a U.S. citizen. She chose to attend UMKC, which has a large international student population, so that she could embrace both parts of her background. As she completes her second year at UMKC, Shefaa says that the university has exceeded her expectations.

Congratulations, Shefaa!

 

Lucerna Symposium 2020

More than forty students, faculty, family, and friends attended the annual Lucerna Symposium on March 5 in Pierson Auditorium at UMKC. Three of the nine undergraduates whose research articles appear in the new volume of Lucerna gave brief presentations about their remarkable scholarship and answered questions posed by the audience at the event sponsored by the Honors College.

Honors College student Sophie Jess spoke about her article, “Please Touch: An Exploration of the Bloch Building as a Post-Museum in the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.” Grace Reeseman shared highlights from her research, “Overcoming LDR Saturation in a Sun Tracking Solar Panel System.” Honors College student Chase Ford summarized his study, “The Portu-guise: Influence on the Portuguese National Identity Post-Carnation Revolution.”

Dr. Gayle Levy, the director of the Honors College, offered opening remarks and an overview of the history of Lucerna, the only peer-reviewed interdisciplinary research journal open to submissions from all UMKC undergraduates. The Honors College began publishing Lucerna in 2005 as a service to the academic community and collaborates on its design with the Egghead Student Design Agency led by UMKC Professor Paul Tosh.

“We are so lucky to be able to come together as a community every year to celebrate the publication of the exciting and creative research that UMKC students conduct. I want to thank Senior Editor Joseph Allen and Lucerna faculty advisor Dr. Henrietta Rix Wood and their team for hosting a wonderful symposium!” Dr. Levy said.

Dr. Chris Liu, vice-chancellor for research, spoke about the importance of undergraduate research. Allen and Editor-in-Chief Katelyn Fisher also addressed the audience, thanking faculty advisors who work with contributors and the Lucerna staff, and encouraging new submissions for the next volume of the journal.

The latest edition of Lucerna soon will be available in digital form on the Honors College website at honors.umkc.edu/get-involved/lucerna/.

Meet a Lucerna Author: Kelista McGraw

What is your Lucerna project about?

I wrote an essay describing the many facets of the opioid crisis. There are so many people that have been impacted by this crisis, and unfortunately the problem has been getting worse. I wrote this overview for people in different fields, because like any public health crisis, the public needs to be educated and aware of the problem and how to help. While this is an article that can be used as an introduction to learning about the opioid crisis, I do go into detail about the pharmacology of opioids to describe why and how the drugs are so addictive and harmful.

Why are you interested in this topic?

I am interested in public health, medicine, and biochemistry. I studied Biology and Chemistry at UMKC. Other than my science background, the opioid crisis is a public health nightmare and is extremely important to be familiar with it. Americans are more likely to die from an opioid overdose than a car accident. For me and many others, this topic is personal. My favorite music artist overdosed on a synthetic opioid and one of my family members had an addiction to opioids after being prescribed them after giving birth. This public health emergency is a big problem to tackle and presenting research in a way that people in all fields can appreciate can help the education effort on the topic.

What have been the benefits and challenges of this project?

The main benefit of this project was being able to communicate current research to the readers of this journal. In addition, I was given the chance to tell people a small part of my story, advocate for those going through an addiction, and encourage people to vote for elected officials who recognize this epidemic and will fund public health initiatives. I also think that I was given the opportunity to present addiction accurately, making clear that people with opioid addiction and dependence do not lack morals. The stigma against people seeking help for addiction and lack of access to receive treatment are the main reasons there are so many people who continue taking opioids until the point of overdose. The main challenge of this project was translating some dense scientific material while still being scientifically correct.

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

Present your work to the staff for the next volume! Finding something you are passionate about helps keep you motivated and create your best work. Once accepted, the staff are super helpful in editing your writing to make it the best it possibly can be. If you are interested in doing this, I highly recommend it!

What are your professional plans or goals?

Currently, I am preparing to apply for Physician Assistant school in April. A PA is an advanced practice provider (APP) that helps improve patient outcomes, expand access to primary care medicine, and work alongside other APPs. PA school is a two-year master’s program, and I am applying all over the United States (including UMKC!). I am excited to further my education and work in a medically underserved area in the future.

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The Lucerna Symposium, at 5 p.m., Thursday, March 5, will feature most of the contributors to the latest edition of the undergraduate journal. This event is free and open to the public. Click here to RSVP.

 

 

Meet a Lucerna Author: Olivia Steely

What is your Lucerna project about?

My project studied the powerful rhetoric of St. Louis native Dorothy Roudebush. I was enamored with her ability to take a difficult topic of abortion, one that was clearly dear to her, and express her opinions in a way that was empathetic and nuanced. I chose her speech at the Manchester Christian Church because she was addressing an audience that, as a whole, had different opinions on the topic than Dorothy. In a time where the cultural conversation seems polarized and loud, Dorothy’s speech is an example of how individuals, especially those who would like to see positive change in their community, can engage in conversations about difficult topics such as abortion. I argued that Dorothy used empathetic rhetoric to find common ground and understanding from both sides in such a personal argument.

Why are you interested in this topic?

I find controversial and sticky topics to be the most fascinating. I love topics that include lots of nuance and layers and, while often overlooked, these layers are valuable and relevant to the conversation. I like to educate myself and others who love to study people who are passionate about a topic and express that passion powerfully and elegantly.

What have been the benefits and challenges of this project?

One of the challenges of this project was putting my emotional reactions aside when analyzing her documents. Since I enjoy studying and writing about topics that I am passionate about, I expected some of my own reactions to the subject. Another challenge was taming my curiosity. I spent lots of time in the archives on the UMKC campus studying Dorothy’s documents and artifacts. I had to make sure that I stayed focused on my argument, but also allow myself some time to explore and learn about Dorothy’s work in a more informal manner. I had lots of benefits from this project. I learned that I loved looking at manuscripts in archives and to not be afraid to research in ways I was not familiar with. I also gained fulfillment from learning about an individual from my local community who did such interesting and difficult work.

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

My advice would be to find a project or work that you are very passionate about. Then, you just have to submit it and get it over with! If you are passionate about the work you want to publish, then you are proud regardless if you are accepted or not.

What are your professional plans or goals?

My current professional plans are to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in secondary education (English emphasis) and a Spanish minor from the University of Missouri-Saint Louis. I then plan to complete a master’s degree in educational administration. I would like to continue research and write about little known individuals who enacted change in their communities, as well as work in creating a more inclusive and modern educational system.

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The Lucerna Symposium, at 5 p.m., Thursday, March 5, will feature most of the contributors to the latest edition of the undergraduate journal. This event is free and open to the public. Click here to RSVP.

Meet a Lucerna Author: Sophie Jess

What is your Lucerna project about?

My essay, “Please Touch: An Exploration of the Bloch Building as a Post-Museum in the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art,” is about the pedagogical styles employed in different parts of the museum. More specifically, it is about the marked differences in the curation styles used in the more modern Bloch building compared to the rest of the museum. My project explores the two styles employed in the museum using Eilean Hooper-Greenhill’s definitions of the modernist and the post-museum.

Why are you interested in this topic?

I grew up in Kansas City visiting the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. When I was choosing a museum/monument for my Discourse H200 project, it was an easy choice for me because I have always felt a connection to the museum. In addition to that, when reading about Hooper-Greenhill’s concepts of the modernist and the post-museum, I could visualize the concepts so clearly within the context of the Nelson, and I wanted to explore the connection more thoroughly.

What have been the benefits and challenges of this project?

One of the major benefits of this project was that I chose a subject that is free to the public and easily accessible. I was able to visit the museum as many times as necessary throughout the project, which I think really helped bring my research to life. Another benefit to my subject of choice was the relatively recent addition of the Bloch Building. It was easy to find primary sources regarding the construction of the Bloch Building that spoke to its purpose because that took place less than twenty years ago. However, I wanted to find similar sources reporting when the museum first opened in 1933, which proved to be more difficult, considering I did not have much experience with historical research.

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

My first piece of advice would be to just go for it; it’s like the Wayne Gretzky quote: “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” It also helps to have a faculty mentor. A project that you might not think is publication material could actually be a really promising piece, so it helps to have someone to encourage you. I would also strongly recommend taking advantage of the priority deadline, so you can receive feedback from the Lucerna staff and resubmit.

What are your professional plans or goals?

I am graduating in December with a B.A. in Chemistry and Psychology. I plan to take the following semester off to work, perhaps as a substitute teacher, before starting a graduate program for counseling psychology in the fall. I would like to eventually earn a Ph.D. and work either as a substance abuse or family and relationship counselor.

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The Lucerna Symposium, at 5 p.m., Thursday, March 5, will feature most of the contributors to the latest edition of the undergraduate journal. This event is free and open to the public. Click here to RSVP.

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.