More than $2 million has helped enrich the academic careers of more than 2,000 women
The UMKC Women’s Council celebrated 52 years of supporting women in graduate studies and honoring the 2023 awardees with a reception on March 2.
This year, the group of 77 women received more than $100,000 from the Women’s Council Graduate Assistance Fund. Since its inception, the fund has supported the academic achievements of more than 2,500 women with more than $2.2 million in graduate fellowships.
Ghadah Almousa (Ph.D. ‘24) is researching deep learning solutions to detect and prevent cybercrime in social media. She’s interested in finding solutions to the spread of misinformation and malicious activities. These deep learning models can analyze large volumes of data from social media platforms and identify patterns that are indicative of cybercriminal activity, such as fake accounts, bots and malicious links.
“Detecting and preventing cybercrime in social media is a challenging task,” Almousa says. “Cybercriminals are constantly evolving their tactics and using new techniques to evade detection. By using deep learning to detect and prevent cybercrime in social media, researchers can help to protect users from scams, fraud and other malicious activities. Also, I have kids, and I want to make the social media environment as safe as possible for them.”
Funding from the UMKC Women’s Council will further her work by allowing her to attend top conferences on cybersecurity and publish her research.
“I am very grateful for the people who provide this funding,” Almousa says.
Rhonda Cooksey, (M.F.A. ’18, GRCT ’18, Ph.D. ‘25 ) is writing her dissertation on representations of racial violence in 19th-century print culture. She received funding to present her research on 19th– century literature and society, and the print culture of the time, and attend a conference that focused on papers that were integral to research.
“The conference call for papers referenced Michael Foucault’s concept of parrhesia as a means to interrogate truth–what is it–who tells it–and what are the consequences of telling the truth,” Cooksey says. “As editor of the Colored American Magazine (CAM), Pauline E. Hopkins spoke for agitation at a time when Booker T. Washington stood for accommodation. Hundreds of Black people were lynched every year, and he considered it safer for Black folks to accommodate segregation and not make waves.”
The Women’s Council Graduate Assistance Fund support enabled Cooksey to network with colleagues with similar interests, research archives in the area and further her work on her dissertation. She feels this experience will enhance her career.
Leslie Boe, ( J.D. ’01) is the current UMKC Women’s Council Board of Directors president, and has been on the board for five years. As a shareholder and director at Dysart Taylor McMonigle Brumitt & Wilcox, her work life is demanding. But after attending a Graduate Assistance Fund event, she was inspired by the graduate students and their groundbreaking work.
“I immediately reached out to a board member to let them know I’d love to be involved in supporting the UMKC Women’s Council and its work,” Boe said. “The first year I reviewed applications I was stunned and impressed by the work of our applicants. There is amazing work going on at UMKC. I’m honored to be part of the process.”
Established in 1971, the UMKC Women’s Council Graduate Assistance Fund supports UMKC women working toward post-baccalaureate degrees with up to $2,000 in funds that furthers their completion of graduation requirements and enriches their educational experiences.