Crows Nest

The Crow’s Nest — May 3, 2023

Academic, Leadership Achievements Recognized as Part of Honors Convocation and Howell Awards

Park University students, faculty and staff were recognized for their exceptional scholarly efforts from the 2022-23 academic year as part of the University’s annual Honors Convocation held on April 20 on the flagship Parkville (Mo.) Campus. The University acknowledged outstanding students, faculty and staff with a variety of special awards, in addition to a number of departmental academic honors.

Isabela RibeiroElias EichhornThe most prestigious honor bestowed on any student at Park University — the Outstanding Parkite Award — went to seniors Elias Eichhorn and Isabela Ribeiro. The Outstanding Parkite Award is given to two students on the University’s Parkville Campus who best exemplify the ideals of the University in their character, conduct, scholarship and student activity participation. Read more about all the awards presented during the Honors Convocation at

In celebration of the leadership achievements of Park University students, faculty and staff during the 2022-23 academic year, the Office of Student Life and the Park Student Government Association announced recipients of honors as part of the 28th annual Dr. Doris A. Howell Leadership Awards. The awards program, held on April 12 on the Parkville Campus, is named for Howell, a 1944 Park graduate who was an internationally renowned leader in pediatrics and hospice care before passing away in November 2018. Read about the awards presented at

Cliff IlligKansas City Area Commencement Set for May 6

Cliff Illig, principal owner of Major League Soccer’s Sporting Kansas City franchise and retired co-founder of Cerner Corp., will present the keynote address during Park University’s Kansas City Area Commencement on Saturday, May 6. The ceremony will be held at Cable Dahmer Arena in Independence, Mo., starting at 10 a.m.

The event will include 705 Park University students eligible to participate in the ceremony — 218 students are set to receive a master’s degree and/or graduate certificate, and 487 students are scheduled to receive a bachelor’s degree, associate degree and/or undergraduate certificate. Read more about Illig at

Those attending the event, especially participating graduates, should review the Commencement Handbook, including the sections on the schedule of events and directions/parking.

Pirate logoParkville Campus Men’s Volleyball, Beach Volleyball Seasons End at National Tournaments

The Park University Parkville (Mo.) Campus men’s volleyball team had its season come to halt in the semifinals of the NAIA Men’s Volleyball National Championship in West Des Moines, Iowa, on April 14 for the third year in a row. For the second straight year, the No. 4 Pirates lost to No. 1 Benedictine University – Mesa (Ariz.) in the semis, 3-0. Park, which finished the season with a 27-2 record, defeated No. 12 Webber International University (Fla.), 3-0, and escaped No. 5 Ottawa University (Ariz.), 3-2, in pool play to advance to the semifinals. Read more about the national tournament at

In other Parkville Campus men’s volleyball news, junior outside hitter Joao Friedrich was named to the NAIA’s All-America first team on April 18. Just prior to the national tournament, Friedrich was also named to the NAIA/American Volleyball Coaches Association All-America first team, while teammates junior middle blocker Daniel Isernhagen and freshman setter Eduardo Faquin were named to the second team, and sophomore Samuel Essilfie was named as an honorable mention pick.

As for the Parkville Campus women’s beach volleyball team, the Pirates participated in the NAIA Women’s Beach Volleyball National Invitational in Panama City Beach, Fla., April 20-22. The No. 5 Pirates went 1-1 in pool play, losing to No. 1 Westcliff University (Calif.), 3-2, but upsetting No. 4 Ottawa University (Ariz.) 3-2. Park ended its season in the opening match of bracket play with a loss to No. 6 Webber International University (Fla.), 3-1-1. Park ended the season with a 17-3 record and was the only school at the national tournament not within a few hundred miles of an ocean. Read more about the national tournament at

Men's golf HAAC champsParkville Campus Men’s Golf Team Qualifies for National Tournament

The Park University Parkville (Mo.) Campus men’s golf team qualified for the NAIA Men’s Golf National Championship in dramatic fashion by winning the Heart of America Athletic Conference Championship on April 25 with a one-stroke victory over Missouri Valley College at The Preserve on Rathbun Lake Golf Course in Moravia, Iowa. The Pirates placed four golfers in the top eight of the individual race, led by a second place finish by junior Guillermo Cervantes. Park will now play the NAIA national tournament at Las Sendas Golf Club in Mesa, Ariz., May 16-19. Read more at

Faculty Center for Innovation Announces Fellows for 2023-24

Park University’s Faculty Center for Innovation has announced its scholarship and teaching fellows for the 2023-24 academic year. The Scholarship Fellows program is designed exclusively to support pre-tenure, full-time faculty along their journey to tenure. In this year-long fellowship, the Fellow is provided with support, structure, resources and mentoring to create and submit a scholarly manuscript at the conclusion of the year.
Jennifer WhitleyDianna Carmenaty          •  Dianna Carmenaty, Ph.D., assistant professor of criminal justice administration, “Differences Between Criminal Justice Practitioners’ Highest Level of Education and Number of Citizen Complaints During Their Service”
          •  Jennifer Whitley, Ph.D., assistant teaching professor of mathematics, “Creating Conditions that Foster Student Engagement, Success and Retention”

In addition, three Teaching Innovation Fellows were selected. This program allows faculty to explore and share innovative teaching practices that contribute to the development of learning across Park University.
          •  Marina Layvand, adjunct instructor of accounting, “Artificial Intelligence”
          •  Andrew Munsterman, adjunct instructor of sport and exercise science, “Enhancing Student Engagement Through Wellness”
          •  Candace Windel, J.D., adjunct instructor of communication, “Critical Thinking and Information Literacy”

Parkville Athletics Hosting Arrrgh & Arrrgh Women’s Networking Event

Park University’s flagship Parkville (Mo.) Campus Department of Athletics is hosting a women’s networking event, Arrrgh & Arrrgh, on Wednesday, May 17. The event provides an opportunity for Park University to showcase its athletics programs and the Parkville community. Attendees can spend an afternoon in Parkville to shop, walk and learn about the power of sport combined with a fantastic education. The event begins with optional programming from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., including shopping/dining in downtown Parkville, a guided hike in the Parkville Nature Sanctuary, an art lesson at Cathy Kline Art Gallery and creating products at The Farmacy. At 2:30, the program moves to Breckon Sports Center for a silent auction, happy hour with drinks/hors d’oeuvres, music and a presentation on Park athletics. Attendees will also receive a goodie bag at the conclusion of the event. Registration is $50 per person, with additional costs for some optional events. To register or for more information, visit

Art, Graphic Design Seniors to Exhibit Work

Artwork of a trio of Park University seniors is on display as part of a senior exhibit through Tuesday, June 6, in the Campanella Gallery located within Norrington Center on the University’s flagship Parkville (Mo.) Campus. Featured in the exhibit is the work of Jazmin Gutierrez, K-12 education/art major; Gage Rabideaux, K-12 education/art major; and Skylar Seitz, fine art major. Gutierrez and Seitz are showing original hand-built works in ceramics, while Rabideaux is showing expressionist portrait paintings. A reception for the artists will be held on Friday, May 5, from 3 to 5 p.m. in the Gallery.

Also on May 5, 18 Park University graphic design seniors will participate in their senior show in an exhibit at 2020 Baltimore Ave., Suite 105, in Kansas City, Mo. The students will showcase various work such as logo/brand design, illustrations, visual effects design, boutique design packaging/product design and 3D modeling.

Behzod AbduraimovICM’s Abduraimov in Concert on May 11

The final concert of the Park University International Center for Music’s 2022-23 season will feature world-renowned ICM artist-in-residence Behzod Abduraimov on Thursday, May 11, at the Folly Theater in Kansas City, Mo., starting at 7:30 p.m. Tickets range from $20 to $50 and can be purchased at Park students can purchase tickets for $10 the night of the performance with a valid Park ID. Read more information at

Robb Centre Hosts Screenings of “More Than a Medal” in New York City

Park University’s George S. Robb Centre for the Study of the Great War hosted a pair of screenings of its “More Than a Medal” documentary in mid-April in New York City at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture and at the Brooklyn Library. In the adjacent photo, Park University staff Ashlyn Weber, Robb Centre associate director of research and initiatives, Lorraine Moore, advancement director, and Tim Westcott, Ph.D., Robb Centre director, associate professor of history and associate university archivist, were joined by two descendants of servicemen that are a part of the Robb Centre’s Valor Medals Review Project — Beatrice Kee, daughter of Sing Lau Kee, and Dr. Frederick Newsome, grandson of Urbane Bass, M.D. — during the screening at the Schomburg Center.

Faculty, Staff, Student News

Tonya RobbinsTonya Robbins, Parkville (Mo.) Campus director of residence life, was recognized by the Northland (Kansas City, Mo.) Regional Chamber of Commerce during its annual Excellence in Education banquet on April 25. Robbins received an Excellence in Higher Education award which celebrates outstanding faculty or staff who make a significant commitment to education.

Leslie JensbyNikki DeSimoneNikki Pauls DeSimone and Leslie Jensby, both assistant professor of social work, presented a session on “A Trauma-Informed Approach: Educating Adopted Children” during the National Safe Schools Convening Academy’s spring symposium on April 7 in Kansas City, Mo. The session included considerations for educating adopted children, trauma (including pre-birth trauma), positive adoption language and how to talk about adoption.

Erik BergrudErik Bergrud, chief strategic communications officer, presented a session on “Small Staff = Big Results” at the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s Pro Communicators Conference on April 13 in Columbia, Mo. Bergrud’s presentation explained how Park University’s three-person Office of Strategic Communications, with a limited budget, works collaboratively while leveraging networks to identify creative communication strategies and tell compelling stories.

Dr. Amber Dailey-HebertAmber Dailey-Hebert, Ph.D., director of the Faculty Center for Innovation and professor of education, presented a trio of talks during a European trip in late April. She provided the keynote address on “Hybrid Education: Theory, Practice and Possibilities Moving Forward” at the EDLAB Conference on Inspiring Educational Leadership in Maastricht, the Netherlands, and she co-presented a seminar “Game On: The Impact and Lessons Learned of Gamification in Online Learning,” also in Maastricht. In addition, she was a panelist on the session “Building Bridges: The Changes Roles of Centers for Teaching and Learning” at the University: Future Festival in Germany.

According to Tosha Wilson-Davis, adjunct instructor of criminal justice administration and public administration, a memoir she authored that was published in April 2021, How I Used My Lows to Lift Me, Not Limit Me, has been accepted into the Prison Book Program based in Quincy, Mass., as well as two public libraries in middle Georgia.

Park University was well-represented at the Sigma Tau Delta International English Honor Society’s annual convention, March 29 through April 1 in Denver.
          •  Isabella Clark, senior English major, presented an analytical paper “Puritan Poetry of the 17th Century” as part of a Colonial American literature session.
          •  Lillian Floyd, senior English and secondary education/English major, presented an analytical essay “Peynado and the Damaging Effects of Debt”
          •  Brandon Schmitz, senior English major, presented two papers, a creative nonfiction essay “To Save a Life” and an analytical essay “Radioactive Renaissance: A Superhero Origin Story”
          •  Neyamia Powell, junior interdisciplinary studies major, presented two papers, a creative nonfiction essay “The Golden Child Speaks” and an analytical essay “Literary Analysis of Brenda Peynado’s The Rock Eaters.” Powell won first prize and $300 for her literary analysis paper.
          •  Alison Overcash, ’20, was a co-presenter on the “Editing Professionally” career development for English majors session. The session was moderated by Amy Mecklenburg-Faenger, Ph.D., professor of English.
          •  Mecklenburg-Faenger also moderated sessions on “Creative Nonfiction: Defining Relationships” and “Common Reader: Society and The Rock Eaters.”

Park in the News

Greg Plumb, J.D., chair and professor of criminal justice administration, was featured in the April edition of the Parkville Pulse, the City of Parkville, Mo., monthly newsletter. Plumb, who has been an alderman for the city since 2014, did not seek re-election this year.

Plumb also participated in a live interview on KSHB-TV in Kansas City on April 21 related to a possible racially motivated shooting of a Black teen a few days earlier.

Matt Harris, Ph.D., assistant professor of political science, was interviewed for stories that aired on KCTV in Kansas City on April 4 related to former President Donald Trump’s indictment proceedings.

Harris was also interviewed for stories that aired on KMBZ-FM in Kansas City on April 10 related to the race for Missouri’s next governor.

Tamera Jenkins, Ph.D., assistant professor of criminal justice administration, was interviewed for preview stories that aired on KCTV and KSMO-TV in Kansas City the morning of Park University’s “Women Transforming Criminal Justice” event on April 5.

Park University’s flagship Parkville (Mo.) Campus, and specifically, iconic Mackay Hall, was the subject of stories that appeared in Kansas City region news media stories on April 10. Mackay Hall’s clock tower was struck by lightning during a morning storm, prompting numerous fire and emergency crews to be summoned to the scene. KCTV and WDAF-TV both aired full stories and went live from the campus that day.

Park University’s Parkville (Mo.) Campus volleyball programs were featured on KCUR-FM in Kansas City on April 14. The text and audio version of the story included interviews with Mike Talamantes, director of volleyball and head coach of the men’s, women’s and beach teams, and junior Daniel Isernhagen.

A benefactor party held in late February for the Park University International Center for Music’s Stanislav and Friends event in mid-March was highlighted in The Independent, Kansas City’s journal of society, in the April 15 issue.

Photos from the Stanislav and Friends concert on March 11 appeared in The Independent on April 29.

Kay Barnes, senior director for university engagement, was featured in an article in the Platte County (Mo.) Landmark on April 21. The article also included comments by Erik Bergrud, chief strategic communications officer.

Seth Arnold, MBA ’16, was named to the 2023 Class of 40 Under Forty by Ingram’s, a Kansas City business magazine, in the April edition. Arnold is a security compliance manager for Honeywell, which manages the National Security Campus for the Department of Energy.

A story about Sherry Lawdermilt, ’09, MBA ’15, PhD., being appointed as the associate vice president and chief information officer at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tenn., appeared on the website on April 26.

Upcoming Events

(All events are Central time and on the flagship Parkville [Mo.] Campus unless noted)
          •  Through June 6 — Senior Art Students Exhibition, Campanella Gallery (Norrington Center); Reception: May 5, 3-5 p.m., Campanella Gallery
          •  May 3 — International Center for Music Concert: Jordan Proctor Undergraduate Cello Recital, 7 p.m., Graham Tyler Memorial Chapel
          •  May 4 — International Center for Music Concert: Soobeen Nam Undergraduate Violin Recital, 5 p.m., Graham Tyler Memorial Chapel
          •  May 5 — Ellen Finley Earhart Department of Nursing Pinning Ceremony, 1 p.m., Graham Tyler Memorial Chapel
          •  May 5 — Graduation Final Walk, 3:30 p.m., Parkville Campus
          •  May 5 — International Sash Ceremony, 5 p.m., Graham Tyler Memorial Chapel
          •  May 5 — Graphic Design Senior Show, 5-9 p.m., 2020 Baltimore Ave. (Suite 105), Kansas City, Mo.
          •  May 6 — Kansas City Area Commencement Ceremony, 10 a.m., Cable Dahmer Arena, Independence, Mo.
          •  May 7 — Spring Semester / Spring II Classes End
          •  May 8 — Maymester Begins
          •  May 10 — International Center for Music Concert: Anastasia Vorotnaya Graduate Piano Recital, 7 p.m., Graham Tyler Memorial Chapel
          •  May 11 — International Center for Music Concert: Pianist Behzod Abduraimov, 7:30 p.m., Folly Theater, Kansas City, Mo.
          •  May 12 — Park University Founders Day (148th Anniversary)
          •  May 12 — Board of Trustees Meeting, Parkville Campus
          •  May 17 — Arrrgh & Arrrgh, Parkville Campus
          •  May 21 — Maymester Ends
          •  May 29 — Memorial Day Holiday (all University offices closed)
          •  June 2 — Cherry Point (N.C.) Marine Corps Air Station Campus Commencement, 9 a.m., Two Rivers Theater and Event Center
          •  June 5 — Summer Session / Summer I Term / Junemester Classes Begin
          •  June 8 — Fairchild Air Force Base (Wash.) Campus Commencement, 4 p.m., Base Theater
          •  June 19 — Juneteenth Holiday (all University offices nationwide closed; Summer Session / Summer I Term / Junemester classes held as scheduled)
          •  June 23 — Beaufort (S.C.) Marine Corps Air Station Campus Commencement, 1 p.m., Beaufort Base Theater
          •  June 23-25 — Kansas City Symphony Concert with Pianist Kenny Broberg, 8 p.m. June 23-24, 2 p.m. June 25, Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, Kansas City, Mo.
          •  June 23-25 — Midwest Retreat for Diversity in Chemistry, Parkville Campus

To view a comprehensive schedule for all events, including athletics and student life, visit



Park University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Park University is a private, non-profit, institution of higher learning since 1875.