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University Program Eases Transition

VFW Magazine, August 2011

At the University of Missouri in Kansas City, disabled vets are receiving a boost in pursuing their technical careers.

Not long ago, Army vet Cailey McClurken packed up her desertcolored combat boots. She was leaving Cairo, Egypt, where she was stationed with the 4204th Army Hospital as a medic during 2009. Today, McClurken is sporting pink rain boots with white polka dots. She is sloshing her way across the campus of the University of Missouri-Kansas City, the seams of her backpack straining under the weight of her science books. She is finding her way in a new kind of land. It’s not easy. Transition rarely is.

Read the full story in VFW Magazine

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Science, Tech, Engineering and Math Program Embraces Students with Special Needs

By Danielle Kafka Underwood

Depending where you are on your journey as the parent of a child with special needs, his or her future career may seem distant or like an elephant standing on your doorstep. Either way, it can feel like a big black hole of questions you are almost afraid to answer.

"Will my child be able to succeed in a work life that he or she enjoys? Will it just be a 'j-o-b,' or can he find a real 'career'? What talents or natural interests should I encourage to help her get there? And how do I do it?"

Big questions. No simple answers.

For the rest of this story, please visit the Parenting Children with Special Needs website

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UMKC Program Creates Pathway for Youth and Veterans with Disabilities to Pursue Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Careers

National Science Foundation provides $1.2 million grant

KANSAS CITY, MO. – The University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) Institute for Human Development and School of Computing and Engineering announce the receipt of a $1.2 million grant (over five years) from the National Science Foundation for their proposal “Building an Alliance for New Careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (KC-BANCS): A Collaborative Model for the Inclusion of Youth and Veterans with Disabilities.”

The KC-BANCS project’s goal is to increase the number of students and veterans with disabilities who enter Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) post-secondary academic programs, complete two-year and four-year degrees in STEM fields and ultimately enter the workforce in STEM-related careers. The project will accomplish this through partnerships with regional STEM educators, community organizations and individuals with disabilities. Key partners include the Metropolitan Community College Business & Technology Campus and Kansas City Kansas Community College’s Division of Engineering, Math and Science.

Dr. Kevin Truman, Dean of the UMKC School of Computing and Engineering and Dr. Ronda Jenson, Director of Research for the UMKC Institute for Human Development serve as co-principal investigators of this pipeline program.

“The Kansas City region needs a pathway for individuals with disabilities to enter and excel in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math careers,” Dr. Jenson said. “The alliance of community partners that this project brings forth is essential to developing an educational pipeline in the STEM careers.”

Dean Truman additionally noted that “the networks of support that UMKC will develop in this project are critical for student success and significantly build the capacity of UMKC and the community.”

Through KC BANCS, students will have opportunities for peer support, assistance with navigating college programs and systems, career exploration and internships. In addition, KC-BANCS will work with high school and college-level faculty to improve students’ access to coursework and a STEM career path.

About the UMKC Institute for Human Development:
The UMKC Institute for Human Development (IHD) is one of 67 national University Centers for Excellence on Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD) in every state and territory. IHD works with a multitude of partners to respond to needs at the local, state and national level. IHD projects span the full range of the human condition and life cycle and focus on larger concepts of community inclusion through diversity, cultural competency and social capital.

About the UMKC School of Computing and Engineering:
Serving more than 700 students, the UMKC School of Computing and Engineering (SCE) offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs in computer science and civil, electrical, computer and mechanical engineering. UMKC’s engineering program is Kansas City’s only ABET (Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology) accredited engineering program and ranks high with other regional engineering schools.

About the University of Missouri-Kansas City:
The University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC), one of four University of Missouri campuses, is a public university serving more than 14,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional students. UMKC engages with the community and economy based on a four-part mission: life and health sciences; visual and performing arts; urban issues and education; and a vibrant learning and campus life experience.

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This information is available to people with speech or hearing impairments by calling Relay Missouri at (800) 735-2966 (TT) or (800) 735-2466 (voice).