Community of Scholars

Our annual Community of Scholars event recognizes the grant and fellowship winners, as well as giving an opportunity for presentations of research via posters, multimedia, workshops and panels. The Spring 2020 event was scheduled in April and had to be canceled due to COVID-19. The virtual Spring 2021 event was also canceled, due to minimal interest. All 2020-21 and 2021-22 fellowship and grant winners will be invited to the Spring 2022 Community of Scholars event to be recognized for their awards.

A Ph.D. student in Computer Science and Telecommunications & Computer Networking, Ashwag Albakri, was among those planning to present at the research symposium portion of the Spring 2020 Community of Scholars. Read her abstract here.


School of Graduate Studies Grants

Research Grants

The School of Graduate Studies aims to support cutting-edge research by offering competitive grants to UMKC graduate students. The call for grant proposals is normally announced each fall, awardees are notified in the spring, and the grant funds are released in the summer. The maximum award amount is $7500, and historically the School of Graduate Studies has been able to fund between $200,000 and $250,000 each year.

SGS Research Grants are available for the 2022-23 academic year.

Specifics related to the process:

  1. The call for applications, due date, and notification date are posted annually on the SGS website.
  2. Fellowship awards may be received only once by any individual candidate.
  3. Research grant awards may be awarded more than once, but preference will be given to first-time applicants.

Specifics related to the content:

  1. The applicant’s letter of support from their chairperson/advisor/mentor must acknowledge that (a) the submission is original scholarly work and (b) the budget has been reviewed.
  2. Proposals may randomly be screened for evidence of plagiarism. Incidences of plagiarism will have consequences for students, as outlined in the Student Code of Conduct (CRR 200.010) and the faculty member, as outlined in the Standards of Faculty Conduct (CRR 330.110).
  3. All awardees must remain students in good standing during the funding period. Fellowships will be pro-rated if the awardee fails to remain in good standing, withdrawals from the program, or takes a leave of absence during the funding period. Research grant funds will cease to be available effective the date good standing/enrollment is ceased.

Specifics related to post-award activities:

  1. Once awarded, changes in the budget distribution, within the stipend category, for the research grants will only occur if supported by the chairperson/advisor/mentor and approved by the Dean of the School of Graduate Studies. A written explanation for the modification should accompany a revised budget when submitted to SGS for approval from the Dean.
  2. All monies will be dispersed over the academic year of funding (July 1 – May 15). All charges must be processed by June 1st, thus it is recommended that all requests are submitted by May 15, to allow time for processing. Any monies not spent will be returned to the SGS grants program.    Because grant funds cannot be carried over in the next fiscal year, no cost extensions cannot be granted.

Once the project is over, all awardees must submit a final report to SGS. Please follow the final report template for this requirement.

There are also some format instructions for the proposal. 

Applications are no longer available for the 2022-23 year.


Academic Year 2022-23 Research Grant Recipients

  • Mohammed Alahmari – Ph.D. student in Pharmaceutical Science and Cell Biology & Biophysics
  • Kaylor Caldwell – Ph.D. student in Counseling Psychology
  • Terena Domingos – MS student in Chemistry
  • Leslie Essel – Ph.D. student in Pharmacology and Molecular Biology & Biochemistry
  • Yongren Li – Ph.D. student in Pharmaceutical Science and Chemistry
  • Yanli Liu – Ph.D. student in Pharmaceutical Science and Cell Biology & Biophysics
  • Hannah McIntyre – Ph.D. student in Engineering and Chemistry
  • Sumaiya Nimi – Ph.D. student in Computer Science and Computer Networking & Communication Systems
  • Sai Siva Kumar Pinnepalli – Ph.D. student in Chemistry and Physics
  • Dana Rademacher – Ph.D. student in Cell Biology & Biophysics and Molecular Biology & Biochemistry
  • Anahi Ramirez – Ph.D. student in Psychology
  • Sherin George Shaji – Ph.D. student in Pharmaceutical Science and Pharmacology
  • Brittany Tarrant – MM student in Musicology

Academic Year 2020-21 Research Grant Recipients

  • Ramy Bassioni – Ph.D. student in Counseling Psychology
  • Jensen Davis – Ph.D. student in Psychology
  • Lacie Eades – MM student in Musicology
  • Jessica Hildreth – Ph.D. student in Psychology
  • Sashi Kandel – Ph.D. student in Pharmaceutical Science and Pharmacology
  • Prakash Khanal – Ph.D. student in Physics and Chemistry
  • Mohammadmehdi Niroobakhsh – Ph.D. student in Engineering and Oral & Craniofacial Sciences
  • Arman Nokhosteen – Ph.D. student in Engineering and Mathematics
  • Ashley Pendleton – MA student in English
  • Babak Poorebrahim Gilkalaye – Ph.D. student in Electrical & Computer Engineering and Mathematics
  • Soma San – Ph.D. student in Geosciences and Engineering
  • Dylan Ward – DMA student
  • Elizabeth Wilson – Ph.D. student in Psychology
  • Taj Kumari Yeruva – Ph.D. student in Pharmaceutical Science and Chemistry
  • Matthias Ziefuss – Ph.D. student in Engineering and Mathematics


Travel Grants

Travel Grant Application 2021-22

The School of Graduate Studies offers travel grants to help defray graduate student travel costs for the purpose of presenting original research papers at reputable professional meetings or equivalent activities in the creative arts. Such presentations may be volunteered or invited, and may be podium or poster presentations. In order to assist the maximum number of graduate students, the maximum SGS travel grant is $400; matching funds from the student’s unit/department are encouraged but not required. Only one request per student will be considered per fiscal year (July 1st through June 30th annually). Requests for travel grant funding that occurs in a future fiscal year may be dependent on final budgetary approval. Please read the SGS travel grant guidelines for additional details.


Other Grant Opportunities

UMKC Women’s Council Graduate Assistance Fund (GAF)

Website & Application forms

The annual competition for the UMKC Women’s Council GAF grants normally occurs in late fall each academic year. The GAF awards are meant to enable currently enrolled female graduate students to complete the requirements for graduate degrees, to facilitate their studies, and to enrich their educational experiences. Funding requests can total up to $2,000, and additional monetary awards are occasionally granted to applicants with projects of exceptional merit. Examples of support considered include: expenses in conjunction with completion of theses and dissertations; unusual photocopying needs; special laboratory or art supplies; extensive use of computing services; special equipment needs; unusual costs for surveys or other research tools; travel to enhance the applicant’s graduate research; or unusual living or education costs (e.g., extenuating personal circumstances that require additional financial support).

In addition to the GAF grants, throughout the year the UMKC Women’s Council considers requests for Immediate Assistance Grants for expenses, such as those listed above, which are of an immediate nature and cannot be delayed until the next award period.

Awardees are recognized at the annual UMKC Women’s Council reception each spring.


Martha Jane Starr Library Research Award 

The UMKC University Libraries offers an annual research award of up to $1,000 for graduate student research initiatives with a Women’s and/or Gender Studies (WGS) focus. The Martha Jane Starr Library Research Awards are open to all students, but preference will be given to a graduate student with a Women and Gender Studies focus and who is mentored/supervised by a member of the WGS faculty. Applicants can resubmit an unsuccessful proposal one time only. Award winners must wait two years from the end of their project before applying for another Martha Jane Starr Library Research Grant.

Visit the UMKC Library News & Events Page each fall for details about the award deadline, criteria, and application process.


School of Graduate Studies Awards

Each academic year graduate programs can nominate students for three School of Graduate Studies awards: Superior Teaching, Distinguished Thesis, and Outstanding Dissertation. The call for nominations is sent to graduate faculty in the fall and awardees are honored in the spring. Each award comes with a monetary prize.

2021 Distinguished Master’s Thesis Awardee

  • Emma Blankenship, History
    • Advisor: Dr. Matthew Osborn
    • Thesis: “Trilobites and the Culture of Wonder in Antebellum America”

2021 Outstanding Dissertation Awardee

  • Dr. Sumitra Dey, Electrical & Computer Engineering and Physics
    • Advisor: Dr. Ahmed Hassan
    • Dissertation: “Novel Electromagnetic Scattering Models for Nano-Composites and Nano-Sensor Applications”

2020 Superior Teaching Awardees

  • Ashley Pendleton
  • Rylan Sampson
  • Dylan Ward

2019 Superior Teaching Awardees

  • Paula Hayward, History Department
  • Matthew McCoy, Mathematics and Statistics Department
  • Nicolas Shump, English Department
  • Lacie Eades, Conservatory

2019 Distinguished Master’s Thesis Awardee

  • Ryan Weaver, Mechanical Engineering
    • Advisor: Dr. Sarvenaz Sobhansarbandi
    • Thesis: “Heat Transfer Enhancement of Phase Change Materials for Thermal Energy Storage Systems”

2019 Outstanding Dissertation Awardee

  • Dr. Hao Liu, Pharmaceutical Science and Chemistry
    • Advisor: Dr. Kun Cheng
    • Dissertation: “Evaluation of the Anti-Fibrotic Activity of PCBP2siRNA in Primary Hepatic Stellate Cells and Discovery of Anti-PD-L1 Peptide and Nanobody for Immunotherapy”


Three-Minute Thesis Competition

The Three-Minute Thesis ( is an international competition, with monetary prizes, that is designed to sharpen students’ abilities to communicate research in an exciting and meaningful way to an educated non-expert audience. It can be described as the combination of an “elevator speech” and a TED talk. The most recent competition was held on March 14, 2019. The Spring 2020 competition was canceled.

2018-19 Three-Minute Thesis campus winner

  • Danielle Thomas, School of Pharmacy
  • Danielle represented UMKC at the Midwest Association of Graduate Schools regional Three-Minute Thesis competition in St. Louis, MO on March 22. She did an outstanding job, advancing to the final round (top 8) out of more than 40 regional competitors.

You can see examples of winning presentations from other universities at the following website:

Below are the competition rules:

  • A single static PowerPoint slide is permitted. No slide transitions, animations or “movement” or any description are allowed. The slide is to be presented from the beginning of the oration.
  • No additional electronic media (e.g., sound and video files) are permitted.
  • No additional props (e.g., costumes, musical instruments, laboratory equipment) are permitted.
  • Presentations are limited to 3 minutes maximum and competitors exceeding 3 minutes are disqualified.
  • Presentations are to be spoken word (no poems, raps or songs).
  • Presentations are to commence from the stage.
  • Presentations are considered to have commenced when a presenter starts their presentation through either movement or speech.
  • The decision of the adjudicating panel is final.
  • Titles must be brief and non-technical. Examples:
    • Can the eyes of a plant help feed the world?
    • Why death matters
    • Gut bugs are responsible for digestion