Tag Archives: KC STEM Alliance

SCE Hosts Second Annual FIRST Tech Challenge Kansas City Qualifier


2014 marked the second year for the UMKC School of Computing and Engineering to host the Kansas City Qualifier for the FIRST Tech Challenge.

This year, over 250 students from 25 teams participated in the qualifier, despite inclement weather and a delayed start. Of the 25 teams from Missouri, Kansas, Indiana and Arkansas, four will now move on to the Missouri State Championships, held March 1st in Rolla, MO.

The four teams advancing are:

  • Café Bot, an independent team from Webster Groves, MO
  • Astromechs, a community team from Kansas City, MO
  • S.W.A.T., Smithville High School from Smithville, MO
  • The Red Hot Techie Peppers, LEARN Science and Math Club from Kansas City, MO

Faculty, staff and students from the UMKC School of Computing and Engineering worked with the KC STEM Alliance to organize this year’s qualifier.

The FIRST Tech Challenge is a competition designed for students in middle and high school to compete head to head, using a sports model. Teams are responsible for designing, building and programming their robots.

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Get Into Energy Camp Inspires Students to Pursue Careers in STEM Fields

Get Into Energy Camp

The pictures are in and say it all.  Congratulations to the participating middle school students and the SCE faculty, staff and engineering students that provided instruction and hands-on demonstrations at the June 25-27, 2013 KCP&L Energy Camp held at SCE.  The camp was sponsored by KCP&L, SCE and the KC STEM Alliance.  For additional information, see the UMKC Today news article “Energy Camp Inspires KC Students to Enter STEM Fields.”

SCE 2013 Summer Camps Support Students and Teachers


SCE Summer Camps 2013Summer time is always a busy time at SCE. Over the past several years our labs and classrooms have been filled with students coming to UMKC SCE to attend various summer programs for elementary, middle and high school students and 7-12 teachers. This summer 2013 we are proud to host six summer camps during June and July.

PLTW High School Senior Showcase Attracts 250 Senior Projects

Sixty-three Missouri and Kansas high schools participate in Project Lead the Way (PLTW), a KC-STEM Alliance affiliate that provides STEM hands-on, extracurricular coursework to 9-12 students that culminates in a capstone project during their senior year (12th grade). The slide show, KC High School Seniors Strut their STEM Stuff, posted at KCPT reflects the work and enthusiasm of the 250 high school seniors participating at the second annual PLTW High School Senior Showcase on April 18, 2013. Kevin Truman, Dean of the UMKC School of Computing and Engineering, helped to found the KC-STEM Alliance and currently serves on the PLTW STEM Industry Council.

The KC-STEM Alliance partners “with affiliate organizations, like PLTW® -Kansas City and Kansas City FIRST®, who are making a significant difference in the Kansas City STEM community and laying the foundation for student success. These partnerships benefit students and organizations by connecting resources, sharing information and streamlining communications.” KC-STEM Alliance estimates that “more than 12,000 students are served by programs like PLTW and FIRST across the metropolitan area.” Laura Loyacono is the KC-STEM Alliance Executive Director.

SCE turns out to help with FIRST Tech Challenge regional competition at UMKC

Dozens of SCE’s faculty, staff, students and alumni volunteered at the FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) regional qualifier, RING IT UP, held Sunday, Feb. 3rd at the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) and hosted by SCE in partnership with the KC STEM Alliance. Pictures taken by the Kansas City Star captured the excitement and the many SCE volunteers serving on set-up, registration, safety, competition, judging, pit, queuing, refreshment, and traffic crews and as scorekeepers, announcers, and referees.

The event, organized and coordinated by SCE’s Whitney Molloy and Valeri Reynolds, attracted 23 teams from the Greater Kansas City area and beyond as teams traveled from Camdenton, St Louis, and Rolla in MO, Millington, TN and Lincoln, NE to participate. The following teams advanced to the state championship to be held in Rolla, MO on Feb. 23: iBot, Rolla Patriots, Cyberbotic Independence Alliance, Maniacal Mechanics, Camdenton 4-H Laser -5909, and TJ Titanium Titans.

Alum Taya Upkes featured in KC Star

UMKC SCE Alumna Taya Upkes was featured in Tuesday’s July 24 Kansas City Star article, Engineering challenges: Keep female graduates, stoke interest among girls. The article focuses on the opportunities for female engineering graduates and the unfortunate nationwide trend of fewer women choosing engineering as a career. Laura Loyacono, Director of the Kansas City based KC STEM Alliance, said that “the perception that engineering is for boys only remains a big deterrent”. The KC STEM Alliance was funded and supported one year ago by the Kauffman Foundation. Kevin Truman, Dean of the UMKC School of Computing and Engineering, was instrumental in obtaining the KC STEM Alliance grant and currently serves as the chair of its board of directors.

UMKC SCE faculty and students lead hands-on experiments

The Kansas City Power and Light’s Get Into Energy Camp ran from June 20-22, and served 24 Kansas City, MO area students. Participating schools were Lincoln College Preparatory Academy, Frontier School of Excellence, Paseo Academy of Performing Arts and Southwest High School. The School of Computing and Engineering faculty and students led the young participants through hands-on experiments that demonstrated magnetism, physics and electricity. The camp was held at SCE in Flarsheim Hall. UMKC SCE Professors Daniel Leon-Salas and Mike Kelly and UMKC Physics Professor Robert Riggs provided hands-on instruction. Six UMKC IEEE Robotics team members and their advisor Debby Dilks provided instruction on circuits and energy using circuit and green technology kits. Also supporting the camp was the KC STEM Alliance, an independent initiative based at UMKC with a mission of inspiring more students to pursue careers in STEM and build a robust workforce for the region. For more details and slideshow visit “Get into Energy” and also see the 06.26.12 UMatters article.

National Society of Black Engineer (NSBE) Minority Engineering Night at SCE

Thirty minority high students and their guests attended a dinner presentation and tour at the School of Computing and Engineering (SCE) on May 8, 2012. The first annual National Society of Black Engineer (NSBE) Minority Engineering Night was hosted by SCE Dean Kevin Z. Truman, the KC Stem Alliance and the UMKC NSBE student chapter. NSBE officers – Innocent Awasom-Nsoh, 2012-2013 Senator; Tim Gitau, Past PCI Chair; Kingsley Kantanka, Past President; Cece Lamah, 2012-2013 co-PCI Chair; Justin Polson, 2012-2013 Program Chair; DeJon Slaughter, 2012-2013 President; and George White, 2012-2013 Vice President – were on hand to greet students and talk with them about choosing engineering as a career.

The event provided participants an opportunity to engage with and learn from successful minority engineering professionals and leaders. Guest speakers included Joe Davis, CEO of Custom Engineering; Tiffany Wheeler, Civil Engineer at Kansas City Power & Light; and Leo E. Morton, Chancellor of the University of Missouri Kansas City. All have engineering degrees! Kansas City school districts represented by student attendees included Center, Hickman Mills and Kansas City, KS. The Frontier School of Excellence won the prize for participation with 12 Frontier students and their guests attending. SCE looks forward to hosting the second annual NSBE Minority Engineering Night in 2013.

SCE Volunteers at First Robotics Competition in KC!

Continuing its tradition of outreach to our Kansas City K-12 community and promoting STEM studies, UMKC’s School of Computing and Engineering (SCE) actively supports and participates in FIRST Robotics goals and objectives. SCE’s Dean Kevin Truman was instrumental in the creation of the KC STEM Alliance, a collaborative regional network which includes PLTW and FIRST funded by the Kauffman Foundation. Currently as the KC STEM Alliance’s Board Chairman, Dean Truman is a passionate advocate and fund raiser for the KC STEM Alliance.

Dean Truman’s enthusiasm is matched by our SCE students including engineering students Tim Gitau, Clement Lumanyika, and Matthew Mohler who mentored three FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) teams as they prepared for the March 1 – March 3, 2012 FIRST Robotics Competition at Hale Arena in KC. The FRC’s practice field during the competition was manned by engineering student Ben Heaivilin who volunteered as the FRC Practice Field Coordinator. Ben was joined by volunteers Matthew Mohler and SCE staff member Debby Dilks. National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) student chapter officers and engineering students George White, Dejon Slaughter and Kingsley Kantanka visited with many FRC teams serving as FRC ambassadors. SCE Director of Student Affairs Whitney Molloy worked many long hours as a member of the Greater KC Regional Planning Committee for FIRST Robotics to help ensure the competition’s success. SCE is proud to join Kansas City teachers, parents and our educational and business engineering, technology and science communities in the support of STEM studies and STEM careers! [More photos can be viewed here.]