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A Time for Change, a Time for Opportunity

Photo credit: Brandon Parigo, Strategic Marketing and Communications

Returning and New Students Express Excitement for the Semester’s Start

For three days, cars lined the streets around the University of Missouri-Kansas City Volker and Health Sciences campuses as 1,500 students moved into apartments and residence halls. All in preparation for the 2016-17 academic year, which starts Aug. 22.

Nearly 750 returning, transfer and graduate students moved into Oak Place Apartments and Hospital Hill Apartments on Aug. 17.

Jessica Swaim, UMKC School of Pharmacy student, arrived early on the first day. From Lee’s Summit, Missouri, Swain didn’t have far to drive as she begins her second year. “I’m looking forward to learning more about pharmacy and getting more involved in student organizations.”

Vincent Gover had a nine-hour drive from Texas. He’s a first year doctoral composition student at the UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance. Originally from Maryland, Gover chose UMKC because of the Conservatory’s reputation. A meeting with Conservatory Professor Paul Rudy impressed him the most. After meeting other professors and learning about the great things Conservatory students do, Gover said he was hooked. “I wanted to tap into that.”

Junior transfer student Carl Redmon II bubbled with excitement as he moved into his apartment. Redmon received an associate’s degree at another institution and lived at home. Now, he’s looking forward to “the whole college experience by living on campus.”

When choosing a school to continue his education in psychology, Redmon chose UMKC because he wanted to move from his home city of St. Louis without being too far away.

Returning to the UMKC Conservatory is sophomore music therapy student Helena Collins-Gravitt.

Collins-Gravitt plays the bass, but will take time this year to learn how to play the guitar for her music therapy program. “I’m looking forward to the specialized courses for my degree.”

Dominique Liddell, junior UMKC School of Education student, is from Kansas City, Kansas. She’s looking forward to specializing in early childhood development. Liddell unpacked with confidence and ease because she’s been through the routine before. And with her goals in sight, she’s ready get down to work. “I’m really excited.”

Chloe Rickett-Gay, junior business marketing student from St. Louis, is looking forward to being an upperclassman and taking classes related to her major. As with Liddell and others, she’s been through the routine before and brought comfort items. For Rickett-Gay, those items are plush blankets and lots of them. “It’s serious!”

Many parents were just as excited. Dana Crowder, sophomore pre-nursing student from Salina, Kansas, had help from her mom as she moved into her apartment. Crowder’s mother, Chanel Thomas, had glowing remarks for her daughter’s choice of college. “Everything is tailored to the student.” As a parent, Thomas said she appreciated UMKC’s focus on student success.

Parental encouragement in choosing UMKC was also key for Shae Perry, sophomore communications and journalism student from St. Louis. Her mom encouraged her to come to UMKC and get out on her own.

“I’m looking forward to a great year,” Perry said. Things will be busy for her, though, as Perry will soon start a new job as promotion director with K-ROO Radio. And, when asked what one item she couldn’t come to college without, she replied, “A full-length mirror.”

With emotions even higher at Oak Street Hall on Aug. 18, freshman students in the six-year medical degree program at the UMKC School of Medicine navigated the maze of suitcases, boxes and clothes lining the sidewalks.

August Frank, O’Fallon, Missouri., is looking forward to becoming a doctor and everything that leads up to it. Although he was nervous, he also was eager to start the next chapter of his life.

“This is your first big adult thing to do,” Frank said. Making the choice to attend UMKC was just the beginning. “The six-year medical program is something you can’t pass up.”

Rave reviews for UMKC’s six-year medical program was common for the first-year students. Valerie Kirtley, Chicago, said she knew a six-year medical program was right for her.  A visit to Kansas City solidified her choice.

“I fell in love with Kansas City,” Kirtley said. “UMKC is really friendly.”

Although she expressed feelings of stress and anxiety, Kirtley also welcomed it all. “It’s going to be a hard six years, but good.”

Derek Wang, Columbia, Missouri, is looking forward to getting to know people and starting college.

“I’ve always been interested in science,” Wang said. And, Wang wants to give back to the community. Becoming a doctor is his way to do that. “I can serve people as best I can.”

The last day of UMKC Move-In, Aug. 19, was a whirlwind with an endless line of vehicles along Oak Street as more freshmen and returning students moved into Johnson Hall and Oak Street Hall. If tears were shed, it was done in private. Smiles and expressions of joy calmed the nerves of students and families. And as with the previous day, boxes and bags were taken from cars, piled into carts and hauled to student rooms with help from the UMKC student volunteer moving crew — Roo Haul.

Roo Haul volunteers also helped calm jittery nerves for students such as Shaina Vinyard. Their advice to the freshman from Excelsior Springs, Missouri: Get involved. Vinyard plans to do just that. As a chemistry major focused on getting into the UMKC School of Dentistry, she’s looking forward to meeting new people and getting involved in the many campus activities.

Hannah Ailes also got help with heavy lifting from Roo Haul volunteers, and from her family. It took three vehicles to bring her things from Oronago, Missouri. After expressing relief that everything fit in her room, Ailes will start unpacking and preparing for her studies as a studio art major. She’s looking forward to taking business courses, as part of her minor, and getting out and about.

“I like coming to big cities because there’s so much to do,” Ailes said.

Cara Nordengren traveled a little further: from West Des Moines, Iowa. She was drawn to the city and the small campus.

“I like Kansas City,” Nordengren said.

Nordengren is a sophomore with a double major in art history and criminology/criminal justice, and a minor in psychology. She’s looking forward to having a busy semester with an independent study with the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.


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