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Hall Center’s 2013-2014 Sias Graduate Fellows announced

Wed, 04/10/2013

LAWRENCE — Josh Nygren, a doctoral candidate in history from Marinette, Wis., and Stephanie Krehbiel, a doctoral candidate in American studies from Lawrence, have been selected as the recipients of the Richard and Jeannette Sias Graduate Fellowship in the Humanities for 2013-14. The two winners will each spend a semester in residence at the Hall Center.

The goal of the Richard and Jeannette Sias Graduate Fellowship is to provide the recipients with one intensive semester to make significant progress on the dissertation. The fellowship also seeks to expand the Fellows’ experience beyond a single disciplinary focus by providing the opportunity for interaction with the Hall Center’s interdisciplinary cohort of faculty and public fellows. The Fellowship is made possible through the gift of Richard and Jeannette Sias of Oklahoma City, for whom the award is named.

Nygren’s dissertation project, titled “Engineering Conservation: Soil, Water and Science in American Agriculture, 1930-2010,” will argue that industrialized agriculture and soil and water conservation co-evolved during the 20th century and neither can be understood independently. Historians place the beginning of conversation around the beginning of the Progressive Era, but Nygren believes that conservationists, politicians, agribusiness representatives and advertisers also engineered a form of utilitarian conservation in the 1930s.

Nygren received a Bachelor of Arts in history and political science from the University of Wisconsin in 2006 and began his doctoral program at KU the same year. He has a strong track record of academic success and leadership, presenting numerous papers about agriculture, soil conservation and other aspects of environmental history. Nygren recently organized the panel “The Land Ethic: The Evolution and Application of Leopold’s Ideal” at the American Society for American History conference, and he has won several awards recognizing his scholarship and service. Most recently, Nygren received the Hall Center Jim Martin Travel Award in the Humanities to conduct dissertation research across the American South.

Krehbiel’s dissertation project, “Let Us Be Broken Together: Discourses of Community and LGBTQ Mennonites” focuses on the language that Mennonites in the United State used to talk about community, and how this talk of community plays out in their denominational conflicts about the acceptance or rejection of LGBTQ people. Mennonites, Krehbiel argues, are attempting to organize themselves bureaucratically while holding a wide range of views about sexuality and the centrality of the heterosexual family unit to Christian life.

Krehbiel received her Bachelor of Arts in music performance from Bethel College in 1998, an Master of Music in flute performance from Michigan State University in 2000 and a Master of Arts in musicology from Michigan State University in 2003. She has served as co-chair of the KU American Studies Association of Graduate Students for two years and has published and presented extensively on Mennonite music and LGBTQ issues in the Mennonite church. Krehbiel participated in a Hall Center Weekend Workshop on Oral History in 2010.

Nygren and Krehbiel will be the eighth and ninth recipients of the Sias Fellowship. Damon Talbott, a doctoral candidate in the American Studies department, is the current Sias Fellow.

Nygren, whose residence is in the fall, and Krehbiel, whose residence is in the spring, will be joining faculty resident fellows at the Hall Center during the 2013-2014 academic year.These faculty fellows are Bruce Hayes, French & Italian; Kij Johnson, English; Ani Kokobobo, Slavic languages and literatures; Laura Mielke, English; and Jorge Pérez, Spanish & Portuguese.



Wanna Skype? Chancellor gets creative to surprise Truman winner. See it here: http://bit.ly/1awodaa
Rock Chalk! Junior Ashlie Koehn named KU's 18th Truman Scholar
Ashlie Koehn, a University of Kansas junior from Burns studying in Kyrgyzstan, interrupted helping her host family prepare dinner to make a Skype call on Monday evening.

.@KU bschool 's KIP team includes @KU _SADP students in all-ages housing project. http://t.co/c6Ss0FsWLL #KUworks http://t.co/FW0eI69uRi
Wanna Skype? Chancellor gets creative to surprise Truman winner From KU News Service: http://bit.ly/1awodaa Ashlie Koehn, a University of Kansas junior from Burns studying in Kyrgyzstan, interrupted helping her host family prepare dinner to make a Skype call on Monday evening. To her surprise, Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little was on the other end of the call letting Koehn know she had been named a 2015 Harry S. Truman Scholar. Koehn is the 18th KU student to be named a Truman Scholar and the only 2015 recipient from the state of Kansas. Earlier this month, she was also named a 2015 Udall Scholar. And in spite of a distance of more than 10,800 kilometers and 11 time zones, Koehn’s thrill from hearing the news from the chancellor came through loud and clear. “Ashlie’s experience at KU epitomizes a quality undergraduate experience. She challenged herself in her coursework, exposed herself to different research opportunities, studied abroad in Germany, Switzerland and Kyrgyzstan, and participated in both student government and community service projects,” Gray-Little said. “This is quite a year for Ashlie. Her hard work is a wonderful reflection on her and also a great reflection on the university, and we all congratulate her.” Each new Truman Scholar receives up to $30,000 for graduate study. Scholars also receive priority admission and supplemental financial aid at some premier graduate institutions, leadership training, career and graduate school counseling, and special internship opportunities within the federal government. Koehn, a member of KU’s nationally recognized University Honors Program, is majoring in environmental studies, economics and international studies. Her goal after earning her KU degree is to pursue a master’s degree in economics at either the London School of Economics or the University of Reading, with a focus on the economics of climate change. In 2014, she received KU’s Newman Civic Engagement Award for her work establishing the Coalition against Slavery and Trafficking. Her involvement with the issue was sparked by Hannah Britton, associate professor of political science and women, gender, and sexuality studies, who hosted national conference on contemporary slavery at KU three years ago. “Ashlie and I met several times to think about what KU students could contribute to the issue of slavery and human trafficking, and the result was her founding of KU CAST,” Britton said. “After a year as president, Ashlie successfully handed the organization over to the next student leader. She demonstrated her strong leadership qualities by setting a unique goal and then pursuing it with her sense of passion, engagement and dedication. No matter the country or context, her leadership strength is evident in her coursework, her public service and her work experiences.” The University Honors Program works with a campus committee to select KU’s nominees for the Truman Scholarship and supports them during the application process. Anne Wallen, assistant director of national fellowships and scholarships, noted it was an amazing ruse to pull off the surprise. Originally, the call was set up to be between Wallen and Koehn. “I was totally not prepared to be greeted by Chancellor Gray-Little, but it was an amazing surprise for sure,” Koehn said. “As a first-generation student, it took time to learn the collegiate system, but my parents taught me to be resourceful and independent from a young age and KU and the Kansas Air National Guard have provided me with the opportunities to drive me into the future, both at graduate school and in my career. I plan to use the Truman Scholarship to pursue a career as an environmental economist helping to shape future trade agreements and leverage action on important international environmental issues, particularly concerning climate change.” Koehn also had a surprise of her own for the chancellor — the meal she was helping to prepare was not exactly typical Kansas dinner fare. On the menu with her host family in Kyrgyzstan on Monday was a traditional Kyrgyz meal called Beshbarmak, or “five fingers,” because you eat it with your hands. The dish is made of horse and sheep and was being prepared as a birthday celebration for Koehn’s host mom. Chancellor Gray-Little, as she signed off from Skype, made sure to encourage Koehn to enjoy her Beshbarmak. Koehn is the daughter of Rodney and Carolyn Koehn of Burns. She graduated from Fredric Remington High School in Moundridge. She is an active member of the Kansas Air National Guard and currently on leave while studying abroad in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. She is a member of the KU Global Scholars Program and a past member of the Student Senate. In addition to being named a 2015 Truman and Udall scholar, she was named a 2014 Boren Scholar and Gilman Scholar and in 2013 was named the Kansas Air National Guard Airman of the Year.


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