Avanzando Scholars Achieve through Science and the Arts

Number of Recipients Supported Reaches 70

Photo credit:  John Carmody, School of Medicine

Now in its fourth year, Avanzando is again recognizing the successes of its 70 students, the majority of whom are science majors. The highlight of the recent Avanzando reception, however, was its students who major in the arts.

Three of the students showcased their creative works at the 2014 Welcome Reception sponsored by the UMKC’s Division of Diversity and Inclusion and the Hispanic Development Fund. They were: Mandea Bernudez, studio art major; Dani Coronado, major in second education-art; and Edith Moreno, theatre-costume design major. Guests also enjoyed a performance of “Study #8” by Jean Pierre Duport, played by Larry Hernandez, cello performance major.

The performance followed presentation of certificates to the Avanzando Research Scholars and the Summer Undergraduate Research Opportunity Scholars. Established in 2011, Avanzando currently supports 70 recipients of the Hispanic Development Fund and the Agapito Mendoza scholarships in their academic and career pursuits. This retention and graduation program is a partnership between the UMKC Division of Diversity, Access and Equity and HDF and includes academic support, mentoring and enhanced access to campus and community resources.

“I often brag about the Avanzando program because it continues to get results,” said UMKC Chancellor Leo E. Morton. “Forty-three of the 243 current HDF Scholarship recipients attend UMKC, and the retention rate for Avanzando Scholars is 90 percent. They work hard, study hard and should have fun – become a total ‘Roo.”

Idaima Calderon quickly personified Morton’s words. Not only did she give the Featured Student Address, sharing her journey and accomplishments while at UMKC; she returned to the stage with her dance partner, Hugo Trejo, to perform a Latin dance, Bachata.

“Aren’t the performers great?” asked Marji Datwyler, director of the Avanzando program. “Tonight’s program highlights both the scientific and artistic achievements of our talented scholars.”

“This is a great community partnership – UMKC, the Hispanic Advisory Board and the Hispanic Development Fund,” said Ramon Murguia, chairman of the HAB. “Avanzando provides results, and we are committed to the scholarship for many years to come. We will continue on our side and help students, instilling in them the desire to help others as we pay it forward.

Avanzando was established to support Latina/Latino scholarship recipients, and the new and returning students were recently thanked for their hard work and commitment to the program.

“Avanzando supports the development of its scholars,” said Susan B. Wilson, vice chancellor of Diversity and Inclusion. “Research opportunities help our students build valuable critical thinking skills, making them more competitive in higher education and beyond. The added benefit is that most Avanzando Scholars conduct projects of benefit to the Latino community,” said Wilson.

A grant awarded by the Patricia and John Morgan Academic Advancement Fund allowed undergraduate students to participate in an academic research initiative that began in the fall of 2013 and ran for one academic year.

Each of the recipients has a faculty sponsor to help them develop a basic knowledge of conducting research and gaining access to critical resources. The faculty sponsor also helps increase the student’s confidence in their abilities to succeed in a research project.

The recipients, their faculty sponsor and research projects sponsors are:

Idaima Calderon and Dr. Paula Cupertino, JUNTOS, KU; “Ventanillas de Salud Para Niños – Obesity & Nutrition”

Elizabeth Herrera Mounteer and Dr. Lindsy Myers, Arts and Sciences, Foreign Languages & Literatures; “Attitudes and Perceptions toward Language Learning”

Sara Trompeter and Dr. Peter Koulen, School of Medicine, Vision Research Center; “The Effect of Chronic N-palmitoylethanolemine (NAE 16:0) on FAAH Enzyme Expression in DBA/2 Glaucomatous Mice”

Christian Vargas and Dr. Bonnie Branson, School of Dentistry, Public Health; “The Effect of Oral Health Education on the Dental Knowledge in the Teen Population”

Cynthia Villalvazo and Dr. Bonnie Branson, School of Dentistry, Public Health; “Knowledge, Practices and Attitudes of the Kansas City Midtown Hispanic Population Regarding Oral Health”

The following students participated in Summer Undergraduate Research Opportunity and presented their posters at the reception. They are listed with their faculty sponsors.

Samantha Gonzales and Dr. Jennifer Lundgren

Jessica Rodas and Dr. Miguel Carranza

Claritsa and Victoria Santiago and Dr. Miguel Carranza

Calderon, a third year student in pre-med health sciences, summarized her years at UMKC.

“UMKC is the greatest school I could have gone to,” said Calderon.

This program is a partnership between the Division of Diversity and Inclusion at University of Missouri-Kansas City and the Hispanic Development Fund.

|Wandra Brooks Green, Division of Strategic Marketing and Communications

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