Roo News

The Student News Site of University of Missouri - Kansas City

Roo News

Roo News

The decision was made on May 23, 2024.
University of Missouri Board approves 3-5% tuition increase for 2024-2025 academic year
Evelyn Berger, Intern • July 12, 2024

  The University of Missouri board of Curators has approved a 3-5% undergraduate and graduate tuition increase for the 2024-2025 academic year.   ...

Banner and KC skyline at Boulevardia.
Boulevardia 2024: Kansas City's ultimate urban music fest rocks Crown Center
Catie Walker, Staff Writer • June 20, 2024

Kansas City partied last weekend on Grand Boulevard at Crown Center for Boulevardia 2024, KC’s largest urban street music festival. The...

Taking place from June 7-9, the event featured performers, businesses and other organizations.
Kansas City PrideFest: A vibrant celebration of love and acceptance
Catie Walker and Evelyn BergerJune 11, 2024

  Kansas City celebrated the LGBTQ+ community at the 47th annual PrideFest and parade this weekend at Theis Park.    “Pride gives the...

Courtesy of Rosanne Wickman
Remembering G. Fred Wickman: Journalist, Professor and Mentor
Melissa Reeves, Guest Writer • May 16, 2024

On April 27, 2024, former Kansas City Star columnist, UMKC professor and U-News (now called Roo News) advisor G. Fred Wickman passed away after...

Kansas City has a chance to advance to the Summit League Championship for the first time since 2011.
Roos Softball Advances to Championship Semifinal
Zach Gunter, Sports Editor • May 10, 2024

  Kansas City has thrilled viewers in the first three games of the Summit League Softball Championship.   Entering as the third seed,...

A closer look at the professors honored at the Board of Curators Meeting

This honor is only currently held by 16 professors at UMKC.
Vitiello is known for his devotion to his students and making the most out of his time in class
Provided by Vitiello
Vitiello is known for his devotion to his students and making the most out of his time in class

  At the most recent Board of Curators meeting two professors were honored with an award given to less than 10% of current tenured professors at UMKC.

  These Curator Distinguished Professors, Tina Niemi and ​​Massimiliano Vitiello were recognized for going beyond the classroom to grow their students and research field.

Dr. Tina Niemi in a paleoseismic trench in Guatemala. (Provided by Niemi)

  Niemi has a Ph.D. in geology and specializes in geoarchaeology, sedimentology and active tectonics. She has taught at UMKC for 27 years and instructed everything from archeology to natural disasters.

  Her students collect data from above using drones and below from cavernous trenches. They also travel the world while completing undergraduate, master’s and doctoral research projects. 

  “It’s very rewarding to actually take students out for their first international trip,” Niemi said. “I have some students that have never seen the ocean before.”

  Niemi enjoys teaching and researching with her students while completing her own studies on the neotectonic behavior of the San Andreas fault and the Dead Sea rift. 

  This first-hand experience helps her create a realistic picture of geology careers for her students and chances to get involved. 

  “I think it is really rewarding to give all these students opportunities,” Niemi said. “I’m honored and thankful that [UMKC] values that type of research mentoring.”

  This coaching helps students achieve beyond what they planned and fosters a passion for their studies. Trenton McEnaney is a past student of Niemi and is now pursuing his Ph.D. in Geology and Geophysics. 

  “No one has believed in me or pushed me as strongly as Dr. Niemi has,” McEnaney said. “I owe her all that I’ve become and am forever grateful for what she has given me.”

Vitiello is known for his devotion to his students and making the most out of his time in class. (Provided by Vitiello)

  Vitiello started teaching at UMKC in 2010 and specializes in Roman history. Originally from Italy, he brings his years of research and study to the classroom. 

  “I grew up in Rome and have always had a passion for the past,” said Vitiello. “Originally, I wanted to be an archaeologist but that meant working field excavations. I’m more of an individualist and prefer to work in theory more than in practice.” 

  He is now a tenured professor and counsels students of all levels. As the author of four books that detail the transformation of the Mediterranean World, he is an expert in his field.

  Vitiello said he is deeply grateful for this recognition of his work at UMKC and beyond.

  “This is the biggest honor you can receive in my position in the University of Missouri System,” Vitiello said. “The university trusts my work and encourages me to keep doing this.” 

  Outside of the classroom, Vitiello prioritizes relationships with his students. Few students drop his classes as he strives to make everyone comfortable and heard. 

  “Everybody has struggles,” Vitiello said. “If the class becomes a moment of learning in a relaxed, friendly, peaceful atmosphere–it’s good medicine for everybody.”

  All these efforts do not go unnoticed. Liana Gray, a past nontraditional student in Vitiello’s class says she always felt encouraged by him to work hard and persevere. 

  Now with a Bachelor of Arts degree in History, Grey recognizes the impact Vitiello had on her career. 

  “He cares deeply and sees the best in each student, no matter their grade,” Gray said. “I will forever cherish my time working with him.”

[email protected]

Leave a Comment
Donate to Roo News

Your donation will support the student journalists of University of Missouri - Kansas City. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to Roo News

Comments (0)

All Roo News Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *