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KU, Haskell students present at diversity-based science conference

Fri, 10/11/2013

LAWRENCE — Thirteen University of Kansas and 17 Haskell Indian Nations University students attended the 2013 Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science conference earlier this month in San Antonio.

More than 3,000 students from across the country participated at SACNAS, and 1,300 students presented the results of their research projects. Alexandria Roy, junior in biology, received an award for her research, “Identification of miR-137 Targets in Colon Cancer.”

“This group represents some of the KU’s most recognized undergraduate researchers, with four of the six students that presented also receiving KU’s Undergraduate Research Award. Alexandria’s national award speaks to the quality of undergraduate research opportunities here at KU,” said John Augusto, assistant vice provost.

With this win, students supported from the Office for Diversity in Science Training have received recognition for outstanding research at the SACNAS annual conference for the past six consecutive years. Twelve of the students from the Office for Diversity in Science Training received a SACNAS travel scholarship. These travel scholarships are given to a select group of students to attend the conference with full sponsorship from SACNAS. KU’s Office for Diversity in Science Training provided additional support for the KU and Haskell student delegates.

SACNAS is a society of scientists dedicated to fostering the success of  Hispanic/Chicano and Native American scientists — from college students to professionals — to attain advanced degrees, careers and positions of leadership in science.

KU students who presented at the conference are listed below by hometown and level of school.

Taylor Broadhead

Title: “Acoustic Analysis of a New Species of Frog”

Junior in ecology and evolutionary biology

Mentor: Professor Rafe Brown

Hometown: Topeka 

 

Kimberly Cole

Title: “Rotary Task Movement Analysis of the Lower Extremity After Total Knee Arthroplasty”

Junior in chemical engineering

Mentor: Professor Lorin Maletsky

Hometown: Wichita 

 

Marcus Florez

Title: “Analysis of Mitochondrial Haplotypes, APOE and TOMM40 Genotype with Alzheimer’s Disease”

Junior in chemistry

Mentor: Professor Elias Michaelis  

Hometown: Wichita

 

Alexandria Roy (winner, Undergraduate Poster Award in Biology)

Title: “Identification of miR-137 Targets in Colon Cancer”

Junior in neurobiology

Mentor: Professor Liang Xu

Hometown: Shawnee 

 

Kayla Sale

Title: “Physiological Responses to Global Change within an Ancient Montane Conifer Community”

Junior in ecology & evolutionary biology and mathematics

Mentors: Professor Joy Ward

Hometown: Olathe 

 

Julia Yang

Title: “Estimating Populations of Osha, Ligusticum porteri, an Important Medicinal Plant of the Southwest U.S.”

Junior in ecology and evolutionary biology, environmental studies

Mentor: Professor Kelly Kindscher

Hometown: Manhattan 

 

José A. Vélez González
Title: “Till Layer Imaging Beneath the Jakobshavn Isbrae, Greenland”
Doctoral student in geology
Faculty Adviser: Dr. George Tsoflias
Hometown: Arecibo, Puerto Rico

 

Luis G. Montalvo
Title: “Diagenesis and distribution of diagenetic facies in the Mississippian of south central Kansas”
Master’s student in geology
Faculty Adviser: Luis A. Gonzalez
Hometown: Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico.



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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