2011 Graduate Profiles

U-News Staff

David Bennett
David Bennett

David Bennett

David Bennett is a creative writing major with honest aspirations.

“I don’t know what I want to do,” Bennett said.

There are many career opportunities he finds interesting.

Ideally, Bennett would like to work on his music full-time and he plans on strengthening his music, visual art and writing portfolio.

He has also considered moving to Brooklyn to be a professional tutor to pay off his student loans and has already received job offers to tutor.

In the fall he may apply to various programs of graduate study.

For the next nine months or so, Bennett plans to stay in Kansas City, where he will seek work at non-profit organizations as a grant writer or in the city as a professional tutor.

He does not feel adequately prepared by UMKC’s financial aid department to handle the burden of student loans.

“I am entering the real world at a disadvantage, most like someone with an unfortunate amount of credit card debt,” Bennett said.

Jennifer Kaminsky
Jennifer Kaminsky

Jennifer Kaminsky

Jennifer Kaminsky’s aspiration is to be a great lawyer.

She double majored in political science and criminal justice.

She will not be starting a career right after graduation because she will be attending law school at Washington University in St. Louis this fall, where she hopes to study criminal legal procedure. Kaminsky believes women are underrepresented in the field of criminal law and believes she can bring change.

During her time at law school, she plans to compete on the law school mock trial team and perhaps coach an undergraduate mock trial program.

She enjoyed her time at UMKC because it has a small-school feel.

She values the individual attention she received from professors, calling her Criminal Justice professors amazing.

She also values the academic opportunities and internships that have better prepared her for law school and life after graduation. She hopes to eventually return to Kansas City to practice law and settle down with another UMKC alumnus, her fiancé, Matthew Varon.

One of her personal goals is to be a prosecutor in Jackson County.

Scott Thode
Scott Thode

Scott Thode

Scott Thode’s primary aspiration after graduation is to attend graduate school to become a mental health counselor.

He will be graduating with a degree in psychology.

He expects to live in either Kansas City, or move back to Raytown.

He does not plan to take a career right after graduation. Instead, he will continue to support himself by working at UMKC’s Writing Center and as an independent contractor in the painting industry.

He will also be volunteering as a basketball coach for the Kansas City Pumas.

“I think that [UMKC] has prepared me intellectually for the next step of my life,” Thode said. He attributed this preparation to the professors he has had.

“Unlike Mizzou, who has great academics, but not great teachers, at UMKC I felt like the professors formed relationships with their students,” Thode said. “It wasn’t all just about research with them.”

The real world can be stressful, especially when budgeting, and Thode is mindful.

“I do have concerns about financial success in the future,” he said.

Priscila Nuñez
Priscila Nuñez

Priscila Nuñez

Priscila Nuñez has spent her years at UMKC active in student life. This past year she was the President of the student organization called the Association of Latin American Students (ALAS).

Priscila said she will miss UMKC’s student life the most.

“I personally had the best college experience here at UMKC getting involved with different organizations and holding leadership positions,” Nuñez said. “I will miss my amigos from ALAS. They made my experience fun, meaningful, and memorable. I will miss all my fellow amigos from the Bloch School; I don’t know what I would have done without them! Let me tell you, we are a family over at the Bloch school…this might change as they continue to expand it.”

Aside from student life, Nuñez was really focused on her academics, becoming a 2011 as Honor Recipient.

Nuñez thinks UMKC; mainly the Henry W. Bloch School of Management has prepaired her for the real world.

“The Bloch School professors are business professionals that teach based on their real world experiences using real world case studies and examples,” She said. “I admire their expertise; they have taught me a lot of great leadership and business insights that I will use as I continue with my career.”

So what’s next for Nuñez?

“Summer! And a few vacations before I grow up and start my real job in the fall at Cerner Corporation,” Nuñez said.

Francisco Garcia
Francisco Garcia

Francisco Garcia

Francisco Garcia will graduate from the School of Computer Engineering, studying mechanical engineering.

He spent a lot of his time this pas year as president for the Society of Engineers (SAE), who scheduled to compete in the Baja Buggy races this summer.

More recently, the Kansas City Section of the Society of Women Engineers named Garcia Mr. Engineer 2011.

Now that Garcia is graduating, he will miss his engineering classes the most.

“[He will miss] Prof. McClernon’s silly jokes in class and the laugh of my classmates,” Garcia said.

Garcia said he’d also miss all of the long working hours designing SAE’s buggy and assembling it at the old maintenance building.

“[I’m] also going to miss the continuous struggle to get all my projects done,” he said.

When asked if his time at UMKC has prepared him for the real world, he simply replied “Ask me in a couple of years.”

So what’s next for Francisco? He plans to design and create toys and machines on his time off from work.

Michele Smith-Nolan
Michele Smith-Nolan

Michelle Smith-Nolan

Michele Smith-Nolan is an English major with an emphasis in creative writing.

She is a member of the Honors Program and served as editor-in-chief of the Honors Program’s Undergraduate Research Journal, Lucerna. After graduation, she plans to remain in Kansas City, but expects to travel frequently because she is a national public speaker for women’s issues and travels often for ministry work.

Smith-Nolan is a licensed minister as well as a Church Plant Consultant, which means she mentors and trains church leaders as they plant new churches.

She has been admitted to UMKC’s School of Social Work Graduate Program and will begin her degree in the fall.

Even after receiving her graduate degree in social work, Smith-Nolan plans to attend law school.

“After graduate school, I plan to work as a crisis counselor while attending law school part-time. The Juris Doctorate will complement my work as a crisis counselor so that I am able to offer legal advice as an additional resource for future clients,” Smith-Nolan said.

She feels that UMKC has prepared her for future endeavors.

Emma Frank
Emma Frank

Emma Frank

Emma Frank will graduate with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and a minor in art history. For several terms, Frank has served as co-president to the Honors Program.

She also spent a significant part of her time as an undergraduate working in the Jackson County Medical Examiner’s Office, where she assists with autopsies.

Although she is unsure of where she would like to live someday, Frank plans to stay in Kansas City next year and secure a full-time career at the examiner’s office conducting autopsies. Ultimately, her goal is to attend medical school and she hopes to change the way obstetricians deliver infants.

Frank firmly believes UMKC has prepared her for career and academic pursuits after graduation.

“I do believe UMKC has prepared me, mainly because of the people here,” Frank said. “I’ve networked and met great people.”

Her only misgiving about her experience at UMKC was the frustrating administration to work with at times, but she is grateful for the positive interactions she had with her professors along the way.

Danielle Dwyer

Danielle Dwyer
Danielle Dwyer

Danielle Dwyer, a communication studies major studying interpersonal communication and public relations, has spent her years at UMKC as a member of Delta Zeta Sorority Xi Phi chapter.

She also served as a Campus Ambassador for the Office of Admissions, and was a 2011 Honor Recipient.

Now that she is graduating, Dwyer will miss her time at UMKC.

“I’ll miss hide-and-seek in the quad, hanging out in the new union, and all the people who have made these last four years an awesome experience,” Dwyer said.

Dwyer said UMKC has prepared her with real-world knowledge and connections through the faculty and staff, and knows that will have a huge impact on her future success.

After graduation, Dwyer hopes to attend graduate school here at UMKC in the Henry W. Bloch School of Management for business.