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A Place to Succeed: UMKC Provides Academics and Opportunities

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honor recipient (3)[The following was provided by the Division of Strategic Marketing and Communications.]

Goal No. 1: Place student success at the center. That is obviously taking place as students expressed their gratitude to UMKC for their accomplishments.

From an organic chemistry tutor to a founding member of the Kansas City Free Eye Clinic to a NASA intern, 17 students shared their college experiences at the recent Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management Honor Recipient Breakfast.

“I wasn’t sure what to expect when I arrived, but UMKC is a place for everyone,” said Grant Dale-Derks, who will graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree in biology from the School of Biological Sciences. “It’s a place for you to succeed.”

Dale-Derks is a UMKC STEM scholar, a math tutor and a member of the Roos Rugby team.

Graduating students are chosen for their high academic achievement and community service, as well as their leadership. Another example of an excellent leader is Anna Shah, who will graduate from the six-year combined BA/MD program at the School of Medicine.

In addition to the rigorous medical program, Shah was co-founder of the KC Free Eye Clinic, co-president of the Student Interest Group in Neurology, founder and elected president of the Student Interest Group in Ophthalmology and a student mentor.

“UMKC is a great place to learn,” said Shah.

Like other students recognized for their achievements and leadership, Ayanna Johnson served as a math tutor, assumed leadership roles in student organizations and served tirelessly to encourage the success of other African American women in the STEM field. She is a good example of what you can accomplish.

Johnson was a product development lead engineering education support intern at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration – Engineering Educational Department. She also was an independent research student, studying health disparities and mental health among African Americans community churches.

Johnson said that she was told by one of her first professors: “It’s not how you start at UMKC. It’s how you persevere.”

“Ayanna has done an amazing job of building networks at the university, and we have no doubt she will continue to excel,” said Katherine Garey, associate director, UMKC’s department of residential life, who nominated Johnson for Honor Recipient. “Her efforts ensure the next class of UMKC women have a successful collegiate experience, and that’s an irreplaceable gift to our institution.”

Obviously, Johnson persevered, and so did the other graduating students who were selected as Vice Chancellor Honor Recipients.

The recipients are:
Jumah Ahmad, School of Biological Sciences – Nominated by Tammy Welchert

Naaseha Amir, School of Pharmacy – Nominated by Dr. Cameron Lindsey

Jordan Andrzejewski, College of Arts and Sciences – Nominated by Ursula Gurney

Audrey Barnard, School of Computing and Engineering – Nominated by Whitney Molloy

Christopher Beaudoin, College of Arts and Sciences – Nominated by Katherine Garey

Roze Brooks, College of Arts and Sciences – Nominated by Dr. Eric Grospitch

Dylan Burd, School of Education – Nominated by Katherine Garey

Grant Dale-Derks, School of Biological Sciences – Nominated by Tammy Welchert

Jonathan Doss, College of Arts and Sciences – Nominated by Chiluba Musonda, Dr. Andrea Drew Gounev, and Dr. Kathleen V. Kilway

Shea Durington, College of Arts and Sciences – Nominated by Kate Gold, Dr. Andrea Drew Gounev, and Dr. Kathleen V. Kilway

Anna Irene Jobe, College of Arts and Sciences – Nominated by Dr. Andrea Drew Gounev and Dr. Kathleen V. Kilway

Amy G. Johnson, School of Biological Sciences – Nominated by Dr. Andrea Drew Gounev and Dr. Kathleen V. Kilway

Ayanna Johnson, College of Arts and Sciences – Nominated by Sandra DuPree and Katherine Garey

Cornita Robinson, Bloch School of Management – Nominated by Katherine Garey

Anna Shah, School of Medicine – Nominated by Dr. Peter Koulen

Daniel Shea, College of Arts and Sciences – Nominated by Dr. Eloise Rathbone-McCuan

Aurielle Young, School of Nursing and Health Studies – Nominated by Dr. Janis Ellis-Claypool

Several of the students volunteered their time at health services and child welfare agencies, such as the Free Eye Clinic, Affordable Care enrollment, Camp Quality and Camp Tall Oaks, the Mayor’s Health Care Foundation, Lego League and the Ronald McDonald House. They also founded or were active in Sister Circle, the student newspaper, the Association of Latina/Latino Students, LGBTQIA, the KC Indian Center, the KC Vet Center, Harvesters and Habitat for Humanity.

In addition to high academic achievement, with grade point averages ranging from 3.3 to 3.9 on a 4.0 point system, many of the students earned academic scholarships and had scientific and medical research published.

Another group of remarkable seniors were honored at the breakfast – the UMKC Trustees’ Scholars.

In order to qualify, the six graduating scholars were required to meet at least two of the following criteria: have a minimum ACT composite score of 30, rank in the top five percent of their high school graduating class, a minimum cumulative high school GPA of 3.5 in 17-class core curriculum.

The program provides a fully-funded educational and experiential program for a select group of undergraduate freshmen. The students honored this year are:

  • Lauren Case, School of Nursing and Health Studies; sponsored by Donald J. and Adele C. Hall
  • Rachel Drabenstott, Conservatory of Music and Dance; sponsored by the UMKC Trustees.
  • Esther Finney, College of Arts and Sciences; sponsored by the Barbara Hall Marshall Advisory Fund
  • Fabian Gomez-Gonzalez, School of Education; sponsored by the Sprint Foundation.
  • Amy G. Johnson, College of Arts and Sciences; sponsored by G. Kenneth and Ann Baum.
  • Appie Peterson, Conservatory of Music and Dance and the College of Arts and Sciences; sponsored by the Copaken Family Foundation.

One quote shared by Tammy Welchert, student services coordinator, School of Biological Sciences, applies to all of the honored students:

The students have “the experience to recognize that leadership is not a title, but an action – an action that requires initiative, commitment and motivation …”

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