Gavin Young
KU Office of Public Affairs

Four juniors advance as finalists for Truman Scholarships

Thu, 04/03/2014

LAWRENCE — Each of the four juniors nominated by the University of Kansas for 2014 Harry S. Truman Scholarships has been selected as a finalist for the up-to $30,000 scholarships. Each will interview with the Foundation’s Regional Review Panel on Monday, April 7, in Kansas City, Mo. The Foundation reviewed 655 students and selected 204 students from 138 institutions as finalists.

Finalists were selected based on their records of leadership, public service and academic achievement. The four juniors are members of KU’s nationally recognized University Honors Program:

  • Emma Halling, a junior from Elkhart, Ind., majoring in American studies and women, gender & sexuality studies
  • Virginia Helgeson, a junior from Olathe majoring in social welfare and religious studies
  • Leigh Loving, a junior from McPherson majoring in genetics
  • Micah Melia, a junior from Prairie Village majoring in anthropology

“These four students embody the commitment among all of KU’s undergraduates to service, to building strong communities and to working together to solve problems,” said Jonathan Earle, professor of history and director of the University Honors Program. “Through the Honors Program, we assist these students in translating that passion for service and education into future leadership. We are excited about their continued success.” 

Since 1981, 17 KU students have become Truman scholars, including Hannah Sitz, who became a scholar last year. The Truman Scholarship Foundation was established by Congress in 1975 as the federal memorial to the 33rd U.S. president. Truman Scholar nominees are supported by the nationally recognized University Honors Program.

“To have all four nominees be named finalists is a great achievement for our students,” said Anne Wallen, coordinator for national scholarships and fellowships with the University Honors Program. “It is a tribute to the strong academic careers of our students, but also to the strength of KU’s mission of educating leaders. These four are outstanding representatives of all of our undergraduate students.”

Regional interviews occur between March 6 and April 11, and all winners will be announced Wednesday, April 16. 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. Recipients must be U.S. citizens, have outstanding leadership potential and communication skills, be in the top quarter of their class, and be committed to careers in government or the nonprofit sector.

More information about KU’s nominees:

Emma Halling is the daughter of Greg Halling and Patricia Latshaw Halling from Elkhart Ind. She attended school in Hutchinson before moving to Indiana, where she graduated from Marian High School in Mishawaka, Ind. She is current student body vice president of KU and a member of the University Honors Program. Halling is double-majoring in American studies and women, gender & sexuality studies, and she is pursuing two minors in policy studies and economics.

Virginia “Ginny” Helgeson is the daughter of Douglas and Donna Helgeson of Olathe, where she attended Olathe South High School. She is president of the Ecumenical Campus Ministry’s Sexuality Education Committee and a member of the University Honors program. Ginny is double-majoring in social welfare and religious studies.

Leigh Loving is the daughter of James and Dawn Loving; Mendota Heights, Minn. Originally from McPherson, she is a graduate of McPherson High School. At KU Loving founded the Jayhawk Health Initiative, a pre-health service learning organization, and is a member of the University Honors Program. She is pursuing a major in genetics.

Micah Melia is the daughter of Tom and Anne Melia of Prairie Village, where she graduated from Shawnee Mission East High School. Melia is a member of the University Honors Program and has been development director for the Center for Community Outreach and currently serves as a program coordinator in the organization. She is majoring in anthropology and minoring in psychology.

When looking to tackle the issue of obesity in rural America, where should we start? The answer is not what you might think. Empathy, says Christie Befort, an associate professor at KU who has just won a $10 million award from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute to investigate solutions to rural obesity. Many physicians are embarrassed talking about weight—especially in a small town where everybody knows each other, Befort says. By providing obesity treatment options in rural primary care, she plans to start a conversation, and maybe a revolution, in rural health care. For more details on Befort's efforts, check out the 2015 Chancellor's Report: and her video: Tags: #KUcommunities #Obesity #Health #Rural #Midwest Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute - PCORI

Whistling the night away. #exploreKU shot by saamanthathomas on insta.
Explore KU: Experience a KU Men's Basketball tradition It’s explosive. It’s dramatic. It’s intimidating. It’s a KU tradition (see more at simply known as the Confetti Toss. But it creates a primal eruption of fan enthusiasm at the opening of every KU men’s basketball game at Allen Fieldhouse. It starts as the visiting team is introduced on court. The KU student section is visibly bored and unimpressed. The entire section under the north basket holds up University Daily Kansans — making the point they’d rather read the newspaper than even look at the other team. They shake and rustle the student newspapers. Then the moment they were waiting for arrives — the Jayhawks enter the court. All Rock Chalk breaks loose. Newspapers, confetti and thousands of thundering voices soar into already charged atmosphere of KU’s hallowed basketball arena. The confetti hits its high point, near the banner on the north wall reading “Pay Heed, All Who Enter: Beware of the Phog.” And the confetti rains back into the stands, onto the court and into the memories of all at hand. It’s time to play.

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