Staff Spotlight: Christiana Rangel

Staff Spotlight: Christiana Rangel

Christiana Rangel, the newest staff member in the College, joins us for a Q&A.

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself. 

Sure! I am originally from middle of nowhere western Oklahoma. After graduating high school, my own recruitment process brought me to Rockhurst University here in Kansas City. I graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Biology in 2016. Since then, I have worked at a middle school in California, a couple years in Admissions at Rockhurst, and in a research lab! All of this has led me to UMKC’s College of Arts and Sciences.

For hobbies and interests, I enjoy 3D puzzles, talking about/listening to Taylor Swift, celebrity and pop culture, anything True Crime, reading, and watching movies. I also love playing my Nintendo Switch (LoZ: BOTW and Animal Crossing: New Horizons anyone?!)

Giving facts about myself can be so tough! I got married last summer in June to someone I have been with since sophomore year of college. Last year, I met the Jonas Brothers which was truly a dream come true for me. Also, Taylor Swift herself recently liked a post of mine on Tumblr.

As you can probably guess from this information, I tend to be pretty easy going and chill in my personal life!

2. Can you share with us what your current role is?

I am the College of Arts and Sciences’ Student Recruitment Coordinator. I work primarily with first time college (FTC) prospective students. This means I work with students who have not attended college post high school. My prospective students are typically in high school. If a student applies to UMKC and is interested in a program that is offered in the College of Arts and Sciences, I am their point person! I am their resource to answer questions about their program, to put them in contact with faculty, set up a visit, or answer really any questions they have about UMKC or college in general. My goal is to hopefully show these students how UMKC can be their second home where they will have a happy, healthy, and successful college experience.

3. What brought you to UMKC?

Before UMKC, I worked right across the street in Admissions at Rockhurst for a while. Following this I worked at a research lab. Earlier this year, I began searching for a way to return to recruitment in higher education. I missed it tremendously! I missed being a part of a student’s journey to figure out what is best for them post high school. I was hoping to gain more experience in various types of recruitment strategy, and add to my private school recruitment experience. When searching, I was lucky enough to see UMKC’s CAS hiring for this position! It was the perfect place for me because I would be part of a university that is such a large part of a city I love, and be able to return to what I enjoy doing. I was also intrigued about recruiting for a specific Academic Unit. Then I learned through the interview process about the team I would be part of and the support I would receive to grow here at UMKC in a field that I am passionate about and want to stay in. It’s been what I was told so far, and the support I have received is incredible! Super happy to be a Roo.

4. How are you transitioning to working remotely?

I can’t say this is something I ever expected to do! Overall, I would say my transition has been smooth. My supervisor is incredibly supportive in making sure I have the tools/resources I need to continue recruitment efforts for the College. We have begun hosting virtual office hours for myself, faculty office hours, and webcasts! Considering working remotely wasn’t something I was planning on doing less than a month after starting, I think the Recruitment Office is continuing to show prospective students that we are still here for them to let them know how awesome it is to be a Roo!

5. What are some of your goals (or things you would like to see happen) here at UMKC?

What a great question! I have been at UMKC for about two months now. Currently the goals I have set myself are really just about learning about UMKC, the College, forming relationships within the College, and the Admissions processes to make myself more independent in my role. Anyone that I have ever worked with will tell you that I hate not knowing the answers, and that I want to be 100% confident in every aspect of my role. However, anyone who knows me also knows that I will always ask questions. Until then, sorry Emma (Casey)!

CAS Faculty & Staff Awards 2020

The College of Arts and Sciences is pleased to announce several faculty and staff awards presented on October 21 by Interim Dean Kati Toivanen at the annual CAS Dean’s Fall Reception. This fall’s virtual reception (available to view in full here: CAS Faculty & Staff Fall Reception) offered a chance to celebrate these honored award recipients and to thank all faculty and staff in the College for their resilience during the current and past semesters.

The Dean’s Outstanding Teaching Award, given annually to a tenured or tenure-track faculty member, recognizes outstanding instruction within the College.  This year’s deserving recipient is Hadara Bar-Nadav from the Department of English.  The College also celebrates the vital contribution of non-tenured track faculty with the Outstanding Teaching Award, presented this year to Stephanie Van Rhein in the Department of Mathematics & Statistics.

In addition to recognizing outstanding instruction, The College also proudly offers two research grants, firstly the Haskell Distinguished Research award, which supports awardees in their completion of a scholarly project or creative work.  This year’s notable recipient is Debra Leiter from the Department of Political Science.

Another research grant presented, the Francis M. Bernardin Research Development Grant, provides recipients support to prepare a grant proposal in their chosen area of research.  This year’s recipients are Virginia Blanton from the Department of English, and Joseph Hartman from the Department of Art & Art History.

Four recipients of the 2019 Francis M. Bernardin Research Development Grant were pleased to report back about the ways in which this award furthered the progress of their ongoing research.  Dr. Clara Irazabal-Zurita in the Race, Ethnic and Gender Studies department won a Fulbright Scholar grant that will fund her research in Costa Rica in the two consecutive summers of 2021 and 2022.  Dr. Alison Graettinger in the Earth & Environmental Sciences department was able to complete two research proposals, one of which is currently under review by the National Science Foundation (NSF).  Dr. Majid Bani Yaghoub, Chair of the Mathematics & Statistics department, also received grant funding from NSF in addition to a successfully funded grant in data science.  Dr. Ye Wang in the Communication Studies department had the opportunity to complete five research projects, three of which are pending further external grant funding.  The College is honored to be able to provide its highly deserving faculty with these merit-based research opportunities.

The final award presented at the Fall Reception was the Outstanding Staff Member Award, recognizing exceptional contributions made by a College of Arts and Science staff member.  This award is given annually to an employee who is consistently respectful, responsible, resourceful, receptive, responsive, and reasonable.  This year’s worthy recipient is Tanya Henderson from the Department of Mathematics & Statistics.

The College values each faculty and staff member year round, but appreciates the opportunity to highlight a select few at the beginning of each academic year.

Psychology Professor Named Presidential Engagement Fellow

Joan McDowd

The College is proud to congratulate Dr. Joan McDowd on her recent selection as a 2020-21 UM System Presidential Engagement Fellow. The Fellowship grants Dr. McDowd and the 14 other UM faculty in the 2020-21 cohort, including Dr. Jamila Jefferson-Jones (School of Law) and Dr. Joey Lightner (School of Nursing and Health Studies) from UMKC, opportunities to speak and share their excellent research with communities across the state of Missouri. Dr. McDowd currently serves as Chair of the Department of Psychology and Director of the Gerontology Program.

From the recent UMKC Today article announcing UMKC’s Presidential Engagement Fellows:

McDowd serves as director and advisor for Gerontology programs. Her research interests are in cognitive aging, particularly in attention and memory processes. Although primarily interested in healthy aging, she also applies methods from cognitive psychology to understanding cognition in stroke, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease as well as in severe mental illness. She was awarded the 2017 President’s Award for Community Engagement, which recognizes faculty who are involved in exemplary engagement activities such as volunteerism, service-learning, educational programming and outreach.

To learn more about the Presidential Engagement Fellows program and the 2020-21 cohort, see this UM news release.

Social Work Students Involved in KC Tenants Victory

KC Tenants is an organization led by a multiracial, multigenerational base of poor and working class tenants in Kansas City. KC Tenants are organizing to ensure that everyone in KC has a safe, accessible and affordable home. KC Tenants created a Tenant Bill of Rights package aimed to address the housing issues tenants face.  On December 13, 2019 the KCMO City Council passed a KC Tenants Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights consist of resolution and ordinance. The ordinance bars landlords from discriminating against and denying rent to a tenant solely on the basis of prior arrests, convictions, evictions, source of income or because of a protected trait which includes race, color, religion, national origin, sex, mental or physical disability, marital status, familial status, age, sexual orientation or gender identity, gender expression, ethnic background, and being a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking. It requires landlords to disclose any past issues with the unit; provide resources for a tenant to get an estimate of utilities; and requires the provision of at least 24 hours notice to a tenant before entering their unit.

MSW students Candace Ladd, Kevin Jean Paul and Shanice Taylor have been heavily involved in the process by providing testimonies, deliberating on the Tenants Bill of Right Package, attending several meetings and providing general support to help strengthen the needs of the organization.

Read a summary of the Tenants Bill of Rights Package here:

Read the final resolution and ordinance here:

Two College Faculty Receive President’s Awards

The College is proud to congratulate two of our outstanding faculty members on their recent awards from the President of the University of Missouri System.

Dr. Richard Delaware, Teaching Professor in the Department of Mathematics & Statistics, received the President’s Award for Innovative Teaching. This honor “recognizes faculty who are outstanding teachers and who employ novel and innovative teaching methods to achieve success in student learning” (UM System). Dr. Delaware has been teaching at UMKC since 1984, and the Innovative Teaching Award is the latest addition to the many honors he has received during his time here. Students praise his techniques which foster collaboration and communication, enabling students to do hands-on work in class and communicate their approach with peers. Dr. Delaware’s writing intensive course, History of Mathematics, has generated award-winning student research papers and publications since 2004. You can read more about this innovative course here. In addition to the courses he teaches at UMKC, Dr. Delaware has also recorded and uploaded full course videos for College Algebra and Calculus I to YouTube, which have reached thousands of students world-wide.

Dr. Sarah Pilgrim was awarded the President’s Award for Intercampus Collaboration, which “recognizes faculty who engage in activities that foster collaboration across two or more campuses of the University of Missouri System” (UM System). The collaborative project, Fostering Well Being, was established by Dr. Pilgrim and Dr. Virginia Ramseyer-Winter at the University of Missouri in Columbia, with contributions from faculty in Columbia’s School of Engineering and other faculty across both campuses. Drs. Pilgrim and Ramseyer-Winter also work with organizations such as Kansas City-based Youth Ambassadors and with graduate students serving as research associates at UMKC and MU. With the goal of supporting underserved youth in Missouri, the project aims to develop a phone-based app to provide critical public health information to foster families and vulnerable youth. Dr. Pilgrim joined the School of Social Work as an Assistant Professor in 2016. Her work with the Fostering Well Being project closely aligns with her research interests in adolescent trauma especially as related to foster placement.

Congratulations to these two professors for this remarkable recognition of their important work with our students and our community.

UMKC Dean of Students Honor Recipient

The College of Arts & Sciences and Department of Criminal Justice & Criminology is proud to congratulate recent graduate Sarah Towakoli, a Spring 2020 Dean of Students Honor Recipient. This award recognizes graduating students who have made significant contributions to the University and to our community while maintaining high academic performance at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. As a student, Ms. Towakoli served as president of the Criminal Justice & Criminology Club and president of Alpha Phi Sigma Honor Society. She also participated in undergraduate research opportunities, organized several community service projects, and was active in her sorority, Chi Omega. Ms. Towakoli graduated with a BA in Criminal Justice & Criminology and a BA in Political Science, achieving Summa Cum Laude honors for her excellent academic record.

Visit to watch videos of the student and a nominating faculty member, as well as other student recipients of this award.

Congratulations, Sarah!