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Melanie Coen
Dole Institute of Politics
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Dole Institute’s new series highlights development, future of drones

Fri, 02/28/2014

LAWRENCE —The Dole Institute of Politics at the University of Kansas will launch the new Innovations Series this spring with the inaugural program being a two-part event on unmanned aerial vehicles, otherwise known as drones. The Innovations Series will be an ongoing series at the Dole Institute that investigates the crossroads among science, technology and public policy.

The first program in the 2014 Innovations Series: Drones is titled “Unmanned Drones: Soldiers without Uniforms” and takes place at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 6. The second program is titled “Branching Out: Exploring New Uses for Drones” and will take place at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 11. Both programs will take place at the Dole Institute of Politics.

“In the midst of controversy on the issue of unmanned aerial vehicles, I believe that we’ve brought together a truly remarkable group of individuals from multiple sides that will provide depth of information on issues ranging from ethics to entrepreneurship,” said Dole Institute director Bill Lacy. “We are excited to see where the Innovations Series will go from this already incredible launching point.”

Despite their more popular association with military procedures, drones have also proven effective in a wide range of extra-military affairs. The series’ programs will create a context for drones from their military beginnings and then move into a discussion on the applications of drones in everything from global security to disaster relief, search and rescue, environmental sciences, sports, film and agriculture. Additionally, issues of ethics, economics, public opinion and public policy will figure prominently in each program.

The series opener will feature Retired Naval Admiral Timothy Beard and Scott Winship, both currently of global security company Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems, a provider of manned and unmanned aircraft systems. Beard and Winship will discuss the technological development, military history, future capabilities and ethics of drones. Winship is vice president of advanced air warfare development at Northrop Grumman. He has also worked for Lockheed Martin. Beard began at Northrop Grumman after a 34-year naval aviator career. Beard is responsible for advanced concept programs, among other projects. Both Winship and Beard have extensive experience designing, developing and implementing aviation solutions for clients, including the U.S. Armed Forces.

The second program in this spring’s series will feature Professor Kurt Barnhart, director for the Applied Aviation Research Center of Kansas State University; Shawn Keshmiri, assistant professor of aerospace engineering, and Bill Donovan of Pulse Aerospace. Barnhart is head of the aviation department at K-State and has experience with drones assisting homeland security responses to natural and man-made disasters. He has also worked with drone applications in agriculture. Keshmiri has led the guidance, navigation control tasks for unmanned aerial system platforms for environmental remote sensing of ice sheets in Antarctica. Keshmiri and his students have conducted more than 110 successful autonomous flights in Antarctica, Greenland and the United States. Donovan is the president and CEO of Pulse Aerospace, a Kansas-based company focused on the development of advanced unmanned helicopter systems. He has a master’s degree in aerospace engineering and has spent the past 10 years developing, fielding and distributing unmanned aircraft systems.

The 2014 Innovations Series is co-sponsored by the KU’s School of Engineering, Engineers without Borders and Engineering Student Council.



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Wanna Skype? Chancellor gets creative to surprise Truman winner. See it here: http://bit.ly/1awodaa
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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.

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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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