Making UMKC Home

Photo by Brandon Parigo, Strategic Marketing and Communications

Move-In marks the start of a new academic year for new and returning students

From far and near, more than 1,700 students moved into UMKC campus housing Aug. 16, 17 and 18.

And though rain threatened UMKC Move-In on Wednesday and part of Friday morning, the sun prevailed as students, families and volunteers unloaded vehicles and moved students into UMKC apartments and residence halls.

Wednesday’s move-in at Hospital Hill apartments accommodated about 100 students, nearly half the complex’s total residents.

Conrad Wally, a junior biology major, is preparing for medical school. He lives only an hour away from Kansas City and is looking forward to meeting his three roommates.

Transfer student Lillian Schnakenberg is from Independence, Missouri. As a sophomore pre-med student, Schnakenkerg also runs track for UMKC. In addition to becoming a doctor, she wants to run the 100 meter hurdles in the Olympics. Her choice to transfer to UMKC was a logical one for her. “It all fell into place. It’s been exciting.” Right now, she’s looking forward to meeting her teammates and getting the year started.

At Oak Place Apartments, Stefanie Lowe, second year psychology major from St. Louis, is most excited about meeting new people. She and her roommate, Natalie Jenkins, lived in Oak Street Residence Hall last year. Lowe likes UMKC “because of the location, the opportunities and being in a big city.”

As a second year information technology student also from St. Louis, Jenkins chose UMKC because of the location. It is close enough to home but not too close. “Kansas City is such a cool city. There’s always something going on.” And this year she has a car, which will make exploring the city a little easier. “I’m also excited to have more classes focused on my major.”

Ciara Turner, a senior criminal justice student from Topeka, Kansas, moved into Oak Place Apartments on Wednesday. She will graduate next fall. Her career plans may include work with the FBI in behavioral analysis. She’s also thinking about pursuing a master’s degree in music business.

Turner chose UMKC because she didn’t want to be too far from home, and admitted UMKC was the only school she applied to. Turner is looking forward to the school year. “I’ll be closer to getting a degree that I’ve worked hard for. I want to prove to people and myself that I can do it.”

For Ituwa Lubani, a sophomore from Kansas City, said UMKC provided the opportunity to “go away to college” but still be close to home. She is a health studies major with a communications studies minor.

Excitement and nervousness collided Thursday on the second day of move-in as freshmen in the six-year medical school program settled into Oak Street Residence Hall. Unlike Wednesday, the UMKC School of Medicine students had perfect weather and plenty of help from dozens of student and faculty volunteers.

Several of the students said they were drawn to UMKC by the school’s accelerated program, which offers a bachelor’s degree and a medical degree in just six years.

Suhaira Ahmad, from Fenton, Missouri, in St. Louis County, is the oldest of four siblings and the first to leave home for college. “I’m excited, and a little nervous. I like the idea of being able to get my medical degree in six years instead of eight.”

Her father, Aqeel Ahmad, said he had mixed feelings about his daughter leaving home. “But everyone here has been so welcoming and helpful,” he said.

Herschel Gupta and his parents, Raj and Taruna Gupta, had a bit longer trip, coming from Naperville, Illinois, outside Chicago. He, too, was “excited about medicine, and the six-year program.”

Being away from home won’t be new for Gupta, because he attended a residential math and science high school in the Chicago area. He also has done some medical research already, helping a Northwestern University professor studying pain related to diabetes.

Gupta said he knew the medical school program was concentrated, “but I hope there’s time for fun, too.”

The trip to UMKC was practically no trip at all for Kevin Huynh, whose family lives in Kansas City. Again, it was the six-year program that drew him to UMKC. He also was impressed when he got a chance to observe research by Michael Wacker, Ph.D., the School of Medicine’s assistant dean of medical student research.

The UMKC program is familiar for another reason, too. One of Kevin’s brothers, Vinson, is a fourth-year student in the med school.

“Yes, we did move-in day three years ago for Vinson,” said their father, Tam Huynh.

Tariq Said, from St. Louis, is looking forward to meeting new people and being in a new city. When talking about the reason he chose the six-year medical program, he said, “It’s the fastest route to my goals.”

Said’s roommate, Daniel Oh of Chicago, is also a first year student in the six year medical school program. He’s looking forward to getting to know new people and exploring the city’s food options. “I really love Kansas City BBQ.” He also is looking forward to not waking up at 6 a.m. to go to class.

Friday’s move-in for new and returning students took the whole day and many more volunteers. Lines of cars spanned Oak Street from Volker to 52nd Street. But there were plenty of Roo Haul volunteers and UMKC student athletes to help students and their families.

Sarah Melchert, a freshman from Lee’s Summit, will study accounting at the Henry W. Bloch School of Management. Melchert is looking forward to a new experience, even though she has been on campus before. “It feels like home to me.”

Brad Starnes, freshman, will study computer science at the School of Computing and Engineering. He is from St. Louis and came to UMKC for the academic programs and “being on my own.”

Starnes knows his roommate, Joe Allen. They went to high school together. As an undecided major, Allen chose UMKC because he liked the campus. “I’m looking forward to meeting new people. And getting an education.”

Maya Kalmus is a freshman from Kansas City studying psychology and nursing. “I love Kansas City.” She wanted to ease into college and being on her own, which made UMKC a good choice.

“I like learning through experiencing, exercising my new freedom. I grew up in a really strict home. Being able to make my own decisions will be exciting.”

Slideshow photos by Brandon Parigo, John Carmody, Greg Hack, Kelsey Haynes and Bridget Koan.

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