Math is No. 1!

Portrait of Shelby Bell
Photos by Brandon Parigo, Strategic Marketing and Communications

Q & A with student Shelby Bell, who finds joy in numbers


Get to know our students, and you’ll know what UMKC is all about.

Shelby Bell, ’18
Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and Statistics with a minor in Computer Science
School: College of Arts and Sciences
Hometown: Independence, Missouri


Shelby Bell portrait


Why did you choose UMKC?

It was close to home, had a good program compared to other schools close to home and was affordable with the scholarships I received.

Why math?

I chose to study mathematics and statistics because I have always been really good at it and it is one of the only things I thoroughly enjoy doing on a daily basis.

What are the challenges and benefits of the math program?

Math is a very difficult subject in general, and that makes the program a challenge. However, the main challenge of the program for me has been trying to decide when to take certain math classes to prepare me for graduate school or other courses I need to take since some courses are only offered once a year and sometimes even less than that.

The main benefit of this program is that it teaches you to persevere. Studying math means you will fail and makes mistakes often. This program, and all the professors in it, teach you how to be a better student and more importantly, teach you to keep trying.

You graduate in May. What’s next?

As for a career, I’m not sure yet! My next step is to pursue a graduate degree in the field of biostatistics. I do know that someday I want to help people, I’m just not sure how I would like to do that yet.


Shelby Bell portrait


How has your college program inspired you?

My program has inspired me in many ways. One is to help others learn math, and I have been able to do this by joining the supplemental instruction team at UMKC. (Supplemental instruction is an academic support model that utilizes peer-assisted study sessions.) Another way my program has inspired me is to always take the extra step to go beyond just learning how to do a math problem and learn how to apply it outside of class.

Since entering college, I’ve learned that I have a love for learning and helping others. This has led me to pursue graduate school and a job where my main purpose is to help with a good cause.

What do you admire most at UMKC?

The thing I admire most about UMKC is that they want everyone to succeed in what they do here. I admire this most because there are so many different places where students can go to receive help on challenging subjects. There is the math and science tutoring center in the library, the Supplemental Instruction program and so much more!

Are you a first-generation college student?

Yes, and being a first-generation college student means helping my family as much as I can. My dad and grandma worked so hard to get me whatever I needed when I was growing up even though we didn’t always have the money. My hope is that my degree will enable me to be able to take care of them someday.

What is one word that best describes you?

Dedicated. I will do whatever it takes to get something done and succeed.


From across the country and around the world, our students come together in Kansas City to study business, medicine, theatre and more than 100 other academic areas. Roos become leaders in their fields and give back to their communities.

>Meet more UMKC students

>Visit UMKC

>Explore the College of Arts and Sciences


Tags: .
  • Recent UMKC News

    $20 Million Scholarship Article in The Kansas City Star

    KC Scholars partnership also in U.S. News and World Report … Read more

    Geosciences Professor’s Research Cited in New York Times

    Fengpeng Sun co-authored study on California wildfire seasons The 2015 … Read more

    Bloch Faculty Interviewed on NBC Nightly News

    Brent Never teaches about Kansas City’s racial dividing line Never … Read more