Our Students. Our Story. #UMKCGoingPlaces

Photo by Janet Rogers, Strategic Marketing and Communications

Allison Spunaugle Combines Small Town Roots, Big Dreams


Biology, Cellular and Molecular Basis of Health and Disease Emphasis (Pre-Med) | School of Biological Sciences | 2019 | Trustees’ Scholar

At UMKC, the students are our story. Look, listen and learn about us through interviews, photographs and videos of our students. Read the rest of the student stories and go to umkcgoingplaces.tumblr.com and follow.

Where is UMKC taking you?

Hopefully to med school and to success.

What are your lifelong goals?

I want to be a pediatrician. In kindergarten, I remember I said I wanted to be a doctor for little kids.

Why did you choose UMKC?

I grew up in a small town in Missouri with 29 kids in my graduating class. It was a fantastic experience. But I wanted the experience of a college campus in a big city. I have a connection to Kansas City sports and a lot of my family lives here. I loved that UMKC has this storytelling project. As a high school senior, when I was looking for schools, I stumbled upon students’ stories online. They show that UMKC cares about its students. I’m honored to take part.

Tell us about the Trustees’ Scholar program.

As a freshman, it’s been a great experience. It’s given me mentorship opportunities I didn’t expect. It’s one of the ways UMKC sets you up to succeed if you’re willing to put in a little work.

What motto do you live by?

My dad has always said any job worth doing is a job worth doing right. He is a role model to me. That philosophy is right. It encourages the steps that set me up to be successful, that things are attainable, that med school is attainable, that I can do it.

Since entering college, what have you learned about yourself?

I have learned how to adapt. I graduated from a very small school in a very small community, and it’s been a big change to come to school in the heart of Kansas City. I’ve learned that I am the type of person who is willing to get out of their comfort zone a little if it means meeting new people and making connections in the process. I have also learned that some of the greatest memories are made when you are willing to step outside of your box.

Tell us about your cool Missouri-shaped necklace.

My best friend and I grew up together in Warsaw, Missouri. She gave it to me. It has the coordinates of the stop sign where we hung out. I had one made for her and one for me just before we left for college. She’s studying to be a computer programmer at Missouri State University.

What’s the best piece of advice you have ever received from a professor?

The best piece of advice I have ever received from a professor is to not be afraid to ask for help. No matter what you are dealing with, from struggles with course information or class scheduling, your professors are there to help you. My professors at UMKC want me to learn, and it’s encouraging for them to know that I am genuinely interested in what information they have to offer. They have office hours for a reason!

Are you a first generation college student?

I am not a first generation college student. Both of my parents graduated from college and work in education, so I was highly encouraged to further my studies.

What’s your greatest fear?

My greatest fear is failure. I have very big dreams, and I am terrified of not achieving them, but I have to remind myself not to let that fear keep me from working my hardest and chasing them. When I do stumble, I remind myself that God has a plan for me, and take it as an opportunity to learn and grow.

What is one word that best describes you and why?

Dedicated. Through my whole life I have always been encouraged to dedicate 100 percent of myself to everything I commit to, whether that be sports, choir, clubs or classwork.

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