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Leonard Pitts Jr., Harriet Lerner to speak at Social Work Day 2014

Fri, 03/28/2014

LAWRENCE — Columnist Leonard Pitts Jr. and clinical psychologist and author Harriet Lerner will offer keynote speeches at the University of Kansas School of Social Welfare’s annual alumni event, Social Work Day, on Friday, April 11, at the Kansas Union. More than 350 social workers and KU alumni will gather to hear and learn about the latest developments and therapies in social work today. Social Work Day is a one-day conference featuring keynote speakers and eight workshops provided by KU faculty.

In a career spanning more than 35 years, Leonard Pitts Jr. is the author of one of the most popular newspaper columns in the country and of a series of critically acclaimed books, including his latest, a novel called "Freeman." And his lifelong devotion to the art and craft of words has yielded stellar results, chief among them the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for commentary.

But that is only the capstone of a career filled with prizes for literary excellence. In 1997, Pitts took first place for commentary in division four (newspapers with a circulation of more than 300,000) in the American Association of Sunday and Feature Editors’ Ninth Annual Writing Awards competition. He is a three-time recipient of the National Association of Black Journalists’ Award of Excellence and was chosen NABJ’s 2008 Journalist of the Year. Pitts is a five-time recipient of the Atlantic City Press Club’s National Headliners Award and a seven-time recipient of the Society of Professional Journalists’ Green Eyeshade Award.

Lerner is one of the nation’s most respected voices on the psychology of women and the process of change in couples and families. For more than three decades, she was a staff psychologist at The Menninger Clinic in Topeka and a faculty member and supervisor in the Karl Menninger School of Psychiatry. Currently in private practice in Lawrence, she is the author of numerous scholarly articles and 11 books, including The New York Times best-seller, “The Dance of Anger,” “Women in Therapy” and most recently, “Marriage Rules: A Manual for the Married and the Coupled Up.” She is also, with her sister, an award-winning children’s book author, and she hosts a blog for Psychology Today.

Social Work Day is an annual event organized by the School of Social Welfare and The Social Work Alumni Society. The last day to register for the event is Friday, April 4. Registration and more information are available online.



KU in the news
The Daily MailSat, 04/25/2015
CNNMon, 04/13/2015
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.

RT @kulibraries : Check out this news feature & then check out his book with us: http://t.co/gLNJxmtx1B #KULibraries #KUWorks https://t.co/L…
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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