Chancellor Mauli Agrawal noted that UMKC is sensitive to the educational needs of working professionals and busy families and that the university has developed more programs to fit the lifestyles of many students.
“At UMKC we offer online education, flexible program structures to fit working professionals and busy families, and much more, Agrawal said. “Yet for many of our students, there are still obstacles that exist, and I am proud that UMKC has organizations like the Women’s Council to help us to ensure those obstacles do not stand in the way of our students’ abilities to pursue advanced degrees.”
Mary Allison Joseph, a two-time GAF recipient, is pursuing her Masters of Arts in the theatre program. Joseph feared her dreams of a career were over when she wasn’t cast as Little Red Riding Hood when she was 10 years old.
“Graduate school has allowed me to craft a very specific personal mission to advocate for diverse stories on stages.” – Mary Allison Joseph
“They cast me as Chicken Little instead,” Joseph said. “I thought this was the universe’s way of saying, ‘Theatre is not for you.'”
Joseph pursued an interest in languages that eventually led her back to the stage.
“I moved to Latin America in my 20s, and an unexpected result of the move was becoming a really great dancer,” she said. “I moved to Brazil a few years later and through my dance network became friends with some actors.”
Joseph realized that she missed the stage and enrolled in an acting program.
“While my two semesters in that acting program were an important start, I still felt like a scholar first and foremost,” Joseph said. “My time at UMKC has solidified in me this professional identify of artist-scholar. Graduate school has allowed me to craft a very specific personal mission to advocate for diverse stories on stages–as a scholar and an artist–in order to bridge communities and foster mutual understanding.”
Chancellor Agrawal recognized that these students are already contributing significantly.
“I am grateful for these graduate students,” Agrawal said. “I treasure their tenacity and their scholarship. I am confident that they will use their work to pay it forward and impact their communities.”
The Graduate Assistance Fund was established in 1971 at UMKC to provide financial support to women enrolled in graduate programs. To date, the GAF as sponsored more than 2,100 women graduate students by providing more than $1.8 million in graduate fellowships.