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Natural and Physical Sciences News

    Physics Graduate Student Excels: Kameswara Mantha is a researcher, mentor, scientist extraordinaire

    Kameswara ManthaExceptional is just one word to describe Kameswara Mantha, doctoral student at the University of Missouri-Kansas City Department of Physics and Astronomy.

    He is one of five individuals who are vying to be the first physics doctoral graduate at UMKC specializing in astrophysics. He’s making a name for himself through his dedication to physics research, scholarship and mentorship.

    Pure determination and talent brought Mantha to where he is. While physics is Mantha’s passion, the path to a career in the field hasn’t been easy. Owing to the very limited opportunities to pursue physics degrees in his native India, Mantha earned a bachelor’s degree in electronics and communication engineering instead. In order to apply for graduate schools, “I self-taught to take the physics GRE,” Mantha said, and applied to top graduate schools in the United States. However, he was denied admissions by several institutes due to a lack of the right undergraduate degree.

    So, armed with an engineering degree, Mantha joined the UMKC School of Computing and Engineering as a master’s student in August 2014. One day before the scheduled UMKC engineering student orientation, he learned about the UMKC Physics and Astronomy program, which stoked his hopes to pursue astrophysics. In a desperate search for an opportunity, Mantha pondered, “I’m going to try one last time” before approaching Professor Daniel McIntosh in the UMKC Physics and Astronomy Department.

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    Dr. Rebecca Egli (UMKC History BA '08) receives Postdoctoral Fellowship at Linda Hall Library

    Congratulations to Dr. Rebecca (Mowry) Egli on receiving a post-doctoral Residential Fellowship at Linda Hall Library. During her two-month stay, she will conduct research for her current project, "Seeds of Misfortune: Food, Crop Diversity, and the Simplification of American Nature," a history of America’s plant explorers that examines the impact of plant introduction and breeding on agricultural biodiversity and innovation.

    Rebecca Egli FullRebecca grew up in Kansas City and received her Bachelor of Arts degree from UMKC's History Department in 2008. She earned a Master of Arts degree in history from King’s College London in 2010 and a doctorate in history from the University of California, Davis in 2018.

    Exploring intersections between agriculture, science, and the environment, her dissertation, "The World of Our Dreams: Agricultural Explorers and the Promise of American Science," looks at federal scientists in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, exploring developments in plant biology and the ecological consequences of importing non-native plants into the United States.

    We are so proud to have Dr. Egli conducting research again in Kansas City!

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    365 students named to College of Arts and Sciences Dean’s List for Spring 2018 Semester

    A total of 365 students in UMKC’s College of Arts and Sciences were named to the Dean’s List for the spring 2018 semester. The CAS Dean’s List recognizes excellent academic performance among full-time undergraduate students with a grade point average of 3.85 or higher for the term.

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    Addressing the Cost of Higher Education: Open Educational Resources reduce costs for students, enhance learning

    Male student wearing UMKC shirt with laptopThe cost of higher education is an issue, and one the University of Missouri-Kansas City is addressing.

    As part of the four-campus University of Missouri System, UMKC has had one of the lowest rates of tuition increase in the U.S. during the past decade. And despite this year’s tuition increase of 1 percent, efforts to keep the overall cost of education are continuing, and are working.

    For example, in June 2017, the University of Missouri-Kansas City joined UM System in the Affordable & Open Educational Resources (A&OER) program to save students money on textbooks and other course materials.

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    Kansas City Philanthropist and Children's Health Advocate Receives Honorary Doctorate, Gives Commencement Address

    David Westbrook gives the commencement address during Spring 2018 College of Arts and Sciences Commencement CeremoniesUnhindered by juvenile glaucoma that took his sight at age 17, David Westbrook (B.A. ’71) has proven that vision has nothing to do with one’s ability to see. He founded Corporate Communications Group, a communications and public relations firm he sold before taking his talent and dedication to longtime client Children’s Mercy.

    Westbrook attributes his lifetime of success to his parents and to the University of Missouri-Kansas City. His alma mater awarded him with an honorary doctorate at the 2018 College of Arts and Sciences commencement ceremony, and he gave the address to the graduating class at Swinney Recreation Center on campus.

    “This is not a defining moment, this is a moment of celebration,” said Westbrook, who holds bachelor’s degrees in English and psychology from UMKC. “Defining moments are with your professors and your friends.”

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    VFW puts more “ease” into UMKC’s At Ease Zone

    Lynn Roth, III, Nick Lopez and Ethan Alexander pose for a photo on the new couch in the UMKC At Ease ZoneThe National Headquarters of the Veterans of Foreign Wars has put a little more “ease” into the UMKC At Ease Zone. The VFW recently presented student veterans with a much-desired couch for the space, along with a new coffee maker and a networked printer.

    The UMKC At Ease Zone, located on the second floor of Cherry Hall on UMKC’s Volker Campus, supports UMKC student veterans as they transition into community and campus life. The At Ease Zone is a collaboration between the College of Arts and Sciences’ School of Social Work and the UMKC Dean of Students.

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    UMKC Galaxy Evolution Group Assists with Planned Observations with Next Great Space Observatory

    UMKC Galaxy Evolution GroupThe James Webb Space Telescope, the scientific successor to the Hubble Space Telescope, is scheduled to launch in the spring of 2020. It is expected to make history as the largest astronomical observatory ever sent into space, and University of Missouri-Kansas City scientists and students will be among those getting the earliest access to it.

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    Over 360 students named to CAS Dean’s List for Fall 2017

    CAS Dean's List Fall 2017A total of 369 students in the UMKC College of Arts and Sciences were named to the Dean’s List for the Fall 2017 semester. The CAS Dean’s List recognizes excellent academic performance among full-time undergraduate students with a grade point average of 3.85 or higher for the term.

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