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. All 2020-21 fellowship and grant winners will be invited to the Spring 2021 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 will not be available for the 2021-22 academic year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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 2020-21

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.

NOTE: Only virtual conferences or events will be approved at this time.

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.


UMKC WGS Faculty and Graduate Student Research Grants Guidelines

Women’s and Gender Studies typically offers research grants of up to $1,000 for WGS faculty and graduate student research initiatives with a Women’s and/or Gender Studies focus.

Types of projects funded

Awards are granted for various types of research activities and research needs, including:

  • travel costs to research sites
  • presentation of original research at symposia/conferences
  • research equipment & supplies
  • duplication of archival materials (microfilm, DVD, copying, etc.)*
  • compensation for research participants and research assistants
  • literature to support a new project (including books, journals, etc.)*

*an itemized list is required to request monies for these purposes


WGS Faculty Research Grants are open to those who are Associate Faculty or Affiliates of the WGS program. Graduate grants are open to all students, but preference will be given to WGS Graduate Affiliates. Applicants can resubmit an unsuccessful proposal one time only. Grant winners must wait two years from the end of their projects before applying for another WGS Research Grant.

Application Procedures: Please Contact the Womens and Gender Studies department for the application procedures and deadline.


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.

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

  • 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