Wednesday, March 29, 2017

An Interview with UMSL Ambassador Sydni Jackson

Sydni Jackson is a Junior engineering major at UMSL. She has been an ambassador for almost four semesters and is a current Lead in Training (LiT).

Q: What drew you to UMSL?
A: The engineering program. Knowing that it has one of the best dual programs with Washington University was more reason to attend UMSL.

Q: Was it difficult for you to get involved?
A: It was surprisingly easy to get involved. The first organization that I got involved in was the UMSL Ambassadors program. I was introduced to the program by a former ambassador and mentor, Eric’el Johnson. From there, a plethora of opportunities opened up to me.

Q: What other organizations are you a part of now?
A: Aside from being in the University Program Board (UPB), I am part of the West County Community Action Network (WE CAN) and the Residential Housing Association.

Q: Can you tell me more about WE CAN?
A: WE CAN is an organization that I recently joined in July of 2016. Their mission for promoting justice for all individuals is one of many reasons I decided to join. The people involved are also very welcoming and make you feel that your opinions are valued.  I also have a leadership role, although new, that motivates me to stay.

Q: What do you do in your free time?
A: Since I am so busy, I like doing activities with WE CAN… and sleeping whenever I get the chance.

Q: What is one odd thing about you?
A: I like to online window shop. I know that not many people would find that bizarre, but it’s a form of entertainment for me. Somewhat of a hobby that I only do from time to time.

Q: If you could give your past self a piece of advice, what would it be?
A: To my middle school and high school self I would say: that being awkward is okay. A lot of the social standards you think are important aren’t. When you get to college, you will meet an amazing group of people who will accept you as you are. Be yourself!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Trap Yoga Comes to UMSL

University Program Board (UPB) realizes that college life can be hectic and that college students need time to themselves to slow down, relax, and connect with their inner spiritual self. So, on March 14th the UPB hosted an event Spirituali-TEA. Some of our ambassadors attended the event which featured a trap yoga session taught by Nikole Brown. Nikole teaches classes every Sunday at 10am at Mindful Movements.

Trap yoga is a form of power yoga to trap music. There is a large demographic missing in yoga, the black community. Trap yoga attempts to reach out to this audience by putting music from their everyday life into it. It breaks down the stereotypical image in of what yoga is, what is looks like, and who does it.

This class was an hour of power yoga that involved a lot of arm and core strength. Some of our new yogi students were caught falling over, but still enjoyed themselves and learning something new. Of course the next few days left them all sore, but looking forward to potentially more classes in the future. Yoga, trap or not, is a great space to focus on your breath as well as your emotional and physical well-being.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

UMSL Ambassadors Participate in Women’s Leadership Institute

On Friday March 10th some of our UMSL Ambassadors attended the Women’s Leadership Institute in the Millennium Student Center. Presented by Women’s
Jennifer Oertli
Director, Client Success at Bonfyre
Giving Circle and Student Involvement, the program provided a variety of informative and interactive sessions focusing on networking, career advancement, moving beyond perceptions of women in the workforce, and thriving in diverse cultures.

The program began with the keynote speaker, Jennifer Oertli—a successful and non-traditional professional—who shared her journey to becoming a self-assured, female leader. The program then split off into three breakout sessions, a networking lunch, followed by a closing panel. Participants had the choice to attend one of five smaller seminars for each breakout session. The first breakout session was dedicated to navigating your personal and professional life. After that, a luncheon was held before breaking off for the last two sessions of the day. The luncheon included a networking exercise where participants played networking bingo to encourage conversation. The following two breakout sessions highlighted navigating perceptions of women in the workforce and navigating cultural competencies.

Our female ambassadors who attended had a great time and can’t wait to share their experiences with others who will hopefully get to attend in the future.

Monday, March 6, 2017

What it takes to Graduate and even go on to Graduate School

Graduating college can prove to be difficult at times. But your education and future is worth the effort. So, here are a few tips we’ve learned about graduating on time and successfully at UMSL that we think could help you. Everything has been divided into sections based on when you need to take action.


Each Year of Undergrad

  • Get to know the DARS. This is how your advisers check to see if you're on track, and it will help you do the same.
  • Look up your degree sheet at the University Bulletin. This is very helpful when mapping out courses.
  • Schedule a meeting with your adviser for a checkup. To make sure you’re on track, schedule a check-in meeting once a semester, usually best when you're signing up for classes. ASK QUESTIONS. Take control of your own education.

Junior Year

  • Start meeting with UMSL Career Services. Meeting with them during your junior year gives you the opportunity to land one of those valuable summer internships before your senior year. However, you can meet with them even earlier to land internships or even jobs around campus.

Senior Year

First Semester

  • At your first semester advising meeting you should be filling out an “Intent to Graduate” form. Ask your adviser any questions you may have about commencement.
  • Check DARS. Check it again. Make sure that every course you need is planned for either this semester or the next one.
  • Check the commencement website for more questions you may have.
Second Semester

  • Check your contact information in MyView and make sure it is all correct so your diploma can be mailed to you post-graduation.
  • Register for your major field test if required for your major.
  • Sign up to participate in the commencement ceremony. You will need to go to the Triton Store during the Grad Kick-Off and purchase your cap, gown, and tassel.

Students who plan on attending Graduate School...

Junior Year

  • You should be looking for opportunities to bolster your future application even before this, but this is the time to jump for research, volunteer, and leadership opportunities when they come available. If you're not at all sure what you should be doing, request a meeting with one of the professors in your department.
  • Brush up your CV or resume making it easier to update for applications next year. Check in with both Career Services and a professor in your department should have more specific knowledge concerning what a graduate school is looking for in your field.
  • Begin writing your personal statement; have a faculty member review for you.
  • Check to see if your focus area requires a standardized test, such as the GRE, LSAT, or MCAT. Look into attending a workshop from UMSL to prepare.

Senior Year

First Semester

Many graduate school applications are due during the first part of December, so you should plan to have these steps done before then.
  • Take the standard test required for your desired postgraduate focus area. It may take 6-8 weeks to receive scores, so you'll want to take it at least 2 months before your applications are due.
  • Line up letters of recommendation for your applications. You'll generally need three, and it's polite to allow those writing your letter 2-3 months to finish them. Make sure you have their correct contact information for use on the applications.
  • Have your CV or resume completely up to date for use on the applications.
  • Request an unofficial transcript from UMSL Registrar’s office ($5 for email, $10 for paper). This is another requirement for most applications.

Second Semester
  • Attend your interviews and nail them!


Useful Links

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Midterm Season

It’s midterm season and the UMSL Ambassadors will learn how beat the stress of midterms during our next meeting on March 3rd, hosted by Student Retention Services.

Student Retentions Services offers a network of success by providing services and information to help you towards your degree completion. Located in the Millennium Student Center (MSC 225), they offer academic intervention services, success coaching, faculty and staff resources, student success networks, and workshops. Their services are free to UMSL students and their web page can be found at