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Chancellor to present University Scholarly Achievement Awards on April 15

Tue, 04/08/2014

LAWRENCE — Four University of Kansas faculty members have earned 2014 University Scholarly Achievement Awards, which recognize mid-career scholars who have made significant scholarly or research contributions to their fields.

Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little will host a ceremony for the four winners at 4 p.m. Tuesday, April 15, in The Commons at Spooner Hall. The event is open to KU faculty and staff as well as the public.

The annual awards are presented in four fields: arts and humanities; clinical science; science, technology, and mathematics; and social science and professional programs.

This year’s winners:

  • Michael Detamore, professor, Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering (clinical science)
  • Michael Engel, professor, Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology (science, technology and mathematics)
  • Allen Greiner, professor, Department of Family Medicine (social science and professional programs)
  • Steven Spooner, associate professor, School of Music (arts and humanities)

The four winners were chosen for contributions that advance the field of scholarship, exhibit novelty and originality, promote scholarly and research activity at KU, and enhance the university’s national and international reputation. Recipients were nominated by their colleagues from KU and across the nation.

“As a flagship research university, KU has a special mission to pursue discoveries and innovations that improve lives, drive economic growth and help us better understand our world,” Gray-Little said. “These four faculty members embrace that mission through their teaching and scholarship. Since we began offering these awards four years ago, it’s become tougher and tougher each year to narrow down the nominations to just four winners, which is a testament to the world-class faculty we have here at KU.”

More information about this year’s recipients is available below.

Michael Detamore
Detamore’s research focuses on gradient biomaterials for interfacial tissue engineering. Specifically, he has devised a unique microsphere solution that enables his group to create a gradient biomaterial that mimics healthy tissues by gradually changing from one side to the other without a sharp interface. Detamore has secured more than $4.5 million in funding as a principal investigator, been awarded two patents and won multiple national awards, including a Fulbright Scholar Award.

Michael Engel
Engel’s work focuses on the field of insect evolutionary biology, with special interest in the origins and episodes of radiation and extinction. He has contributed more than 500 scholarly works, including documentation of the earliest evidence of insects, noting that these first insects were flying insects. He co-authored a synthesis of insect evolutionary history that was the first of its kind and now serves as the textbook for entomology programs worldwide.

Allen Greiner
Dr. Greiner is a professor of family medicine and is among the top clinical researchers in the School of Medicine, which ranks sixth nationally in NIH funding for departments of family medicine. His work focuses on improving the health of communities and is based on working directly with communities. His efforts have improved access to and understanding of preventative medicine options related to colon cancer for Native and Latino Americans in northeast Kansas.

Steven Spooner
Spooner has enjoyed an almost meteoric rise in his reputation performing and researching the music of 19th century composer and piano virtuoso Franz Liszt. Spooner is known internationally for incorporating scholarly investigation into his performances and interpretations, and he is considered among the world’s most recognized performers of Liszt’s music. He has won several international competitions featuring Liszt’s music, released four compact discs and one DVD performing Liszt’s music, and performed in venues ranging from Carnegie Hall in New York to the Liszt Academy in Budapest.



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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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