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John D. Clark
Army ROTC
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KU to commission first female combat arms officer since lifting of ban

Wed, 05/14/2014

LAWRENCE — The University of Kansas Army ROTC will commission its first female Field Artillery officer this spring following Pentagon orders in 2013 to open combat-arms branches to women across all military services.

Madeline Wilcox, of Leavenworth, will commission on Monday, May 19, as a second lieutenant in the Field Artillery branch.

“Cadet Wilcox’s selection to Field Artillery was a surprise to her and us, but as the Army moves to put females into combat arms, Cadet Wilcox has great potential to do well,” said Lt. Col. Storm Reynolds, professor of military science.

Wilcox joined Army ROTC in 2010, during the spring semester of her freshman year at KU. Now a senior, she will earn a degree in political science.

“With graduation getting closer, I am very excited for the start of my Army career. Being branched in a combat arms branch, especially with being the first female to do so from KU, is something I’m proud of. But even more so, I think this shows a very good trend towards where the Army is heading in the further integration of women,” Wilcox said.

Wilcox earned high marks as a student and cadet at KU.

She will graduate as a Distinguished Military Graduate, top 20 percent of all graduating Army ROTC cadets across 273 programs in the nation. Wilcox also was part of roughly 1,000 cadets out of the 5,000 in the nation to earn an overall Excellent grade this summer at the 2013 Leadership Development and Assessment Course at Fort Lewis, Washington.                             

U.S. Army combat arms branches include Infantry, Armor, Field Artillery and Air Defense Artillery. Field Artillery and Air Defense Artillery are the only two combat branches currently open to female officers. Field Artillery officers are typically integrated into maneuver units on the ground and command fire support missions on the battlefield.

Upon graduation and commissioning Wilcox will attend Field Artillery Basic Officer’s Leadership Course, a five-month followup on training for new lieutenants, in Fort Sill, Oklahoma. 



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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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