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KU nominees for national scholarships announced

Wed, 10/29/2014

LAWRENCE —Seven outstanding University of Kansas students were selected by a committee coordinated by the University of Kansas Honors Program to compete for Marshall Scholarships, which provide for study in the United Kingdom.

“The students nominated for these top national scholarships are a reflection of KU’s excellence in undergraduate education across all fields and disciplines,” said Bryan Young, associate professor of civil, environmental and architectural engineering and director of the University Honors Program. “Through the Honors Program, we assist these students in translating their academic excellence into opportunities for service, leadership and research across all disciplines.”

The nominees are as follows:

Jenny Lynn Curatola is a May 2013 graduate from Lansing who earned her bachelor's degree in theater and is currently pursuing two additional degrees in English and global and international studies.

Ryan G. Endres is a senior from Lenexa majoring in engineering and an honoree by Aviation Week magazine.

Emma Halling is a senior from Elkhart, Indiana, and former Hutchinson student, majoring in American studies and women, gender, and sexuality studies, and she was a 2014 Truman Scholarship finalist and a 2014 Woman of Distinction.

Ryan Limbocker is an Overland Park native and chemistry major with plans to pursue a doctorate in analytical chemistry and research the fundamental origins of neurodegeneration.

Leigh Loving, from Mendota Heights, Minnesota, and formerly of McPherson, is the founder of the Jayhawk Health Initiative, a pre-health service learning organization, and is pursuing a major in biology (genetics).

Micah Melia, Prairie Village, currently serves as a program coordinator for the Center for Community Outreach and is majoring in anthropology with a minor in psychology.

Erin Tomkins, Lawrence is a May 2012 graduate in music and is currently a graduate student at NYU.

Curatola and the five current KU students are also candidates for the Rhodes scholarship; Emma Halling is also a candidate for the Mitchell Scholarship. The Rhodes scholarship provides all expenses for one to three years of study at the University of Oxford in England. The Mitchell Scholarship funds one year of study in Ireland or Northern Ireland.

Each of the nominees is or was a member of KU’s prestigious University Honors Program. KU students have won nine Marshall Scholarships. The Marshall Aid Commemoration Commission of Britain annually awards up to 40 Marshall Scholarships for graduate study at any university in the United Kingdom.

KU's nominees for Marshall Scholarships are competing in the Chicago region. Winners in the Chicago region will be selected shortly after Nov. 13-14 interviews for finalists. Nominees selected for finalist interviews will travel to Chicago along with competitors from thirteen Midwestern states. Selection criteria include an exceptional academic record, leadership and potential to serve as a citizen ambassador to the United Kingdom.

Biographical information about the students, including academic achievements and leadership on and off campus, is listed below.

Jenny Lynn Curatola, from Lansing, is the daughter of John and Debra Curatola. Curatola completed a bachelor's degree in theatre in May 2013 and is continuing her studies at KU this year to complete two additional bachelor’s degrees in English and global and international studies, and a minor in Italian. Curatola is a Rhodes applicant and Marshall nominee. With a Marshall Scholarship, she would pursue a master's degree in Near and Middle East studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London and a Master of Arts in Theatre Practice: Applied Theatre at the University of Exeter. Curatola is a member of the University Honors Program, a member of Phi Beta Kappa, a Hall Center Scholar and a winner of the Jack and Lavon Brosseau Creativity Award. She held a 2013 Coro Kansas City Internship in Public Affairs. She is featured on the 2013 KU Women of Distinction Calendar and is a member of the Undergraduate Advisory Board for the Arab Uprisings Lecture Series.

Ryan G. Endres, an engineering major from Lenexa, participates in Engineers Without Borders and the Self Engineering Leadership Fellows Program. He was elected by Aviation Week magazine as one of the winners of its new awards program, Tomorrow’s Engineering Leaders: The Twenty20s. This award identifies students already making a difference through academic performance, research and engagement outside of the classroom. Endres spent the summer of 2013 as an intern at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, compiling data from the Mars rover Curiosity and writing computer code to create a searchable, centralized database readily available for NASA engineers seeking specific information on any of the rover’s previous activities. A Rhodes Scholar applicant, he took second place at the 2014 Kansas Collegiate Math Competition and received the Mathematics Department’s top freshman award in 2012.

Emma Halling, daughter of Greg Halling and Patricia Latshaw Halling, is from Elkhart, Indiana. She attended school in Hutchinson before moving to Indiana, where she graduated from Marian High School in Mishawaka Indiana, and is now a senior in American studies and women, gender & sexuality studies. She served as student body vice president during the 2013-14 school year and student body president for the beginning of the 2014 academic year. She is the founder and co-chair of Title IX Roundtable, an organization designed to educate students on Title IX’s role on campus. Halling is also a 2014 Truman Scholarship finalist and a 2014 Woman of Distinction. Halling is pursuing two minors in policy studies and economics and is a Hall Center Scholar for 2014-2015. A Rhodes and Mitchell scholar applicant, Halling serves as a member of Phi Beta Kappa academic honor society.

Ryan Limbocker, senior from Overland Park studying chemistry, is the son of Craig and Kathi Limbocker and graduated from Blue Valley North High School. He has been active in Professor Michael Johnson’s research group in the Department of Chemistry with plans to pursue a doctorate in analytical chemistry and research the fundamental origins of neurodegeneration, focusing on post-chemotherapy cognitive impairment, Huntington’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease. Limbocker was awarded the prestigious 2014 Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship. He was selected for an Undergraduate Research Award for his work titled “Constructing Parameters for the Optimization of 6-OHDA Lesioned Rats as a Model of ADHD to Establish a Paradigm for Future Research,” a study seeking to establish research criteria for using rats to develop new drugs to treat ADHD. He was honored at the Kansas IDeA (Institutional Development Awards) Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (K-INBRE) symposium for the poster presentation, “Neurochemical Analysis of Chemobrain”.

Leigh Loving is the daughter of James and Dawn Loving in Mendota Heights, Minnesota. Originally from McPherson, she is a graduate of McPherson High School. At KU Leigh 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 biology (genetics). A Hall Center Scholar for 2014-2015, Loving received the Student Excellence in Service Learning Award for demonstrating community awareness and engagement as well as academic and personal achievement through service learning. She is service learning certified and is a Kansas Health Foundation Fellow in Community Health and Development and an EMT-Basic. During her freshman year at KU, Leigh organized and led a medical mission trip to Guatemala. She has also participated in the Alternative Spring Breaks program, is an active member of Kappa Alpha Theta and an Honors Program ambassador. Loving is also a 2013 Clinton Global Initiative participant and a 2014 Outstanding Woman Student in Leadership award recipient.

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 where she currently serves as a program coordinator in the organization. She is majoring in anthropology and minoring in psychology and is a Hall Center Scholar for 2014-2015. Melia is a member of Phi Beta Kappa academic honor society and was a 2013 University Scholar. During the summer of 2013, Melia was a research intern at the University of Virginia Curry School of Education. A 2014 Woman of Distinction, Melia is an Excellence in Community, Education and Leadership Award finalist and has studied abroad in Ireland and Costa Rica.

Erin Tomkins, a Lawrence resident, is the daughter of Sheila Murphy and Ray Tomkins. Tomkins was a member of the University Honors Program and was a vice president of Sellards Scholarship Hall. While at KU she received a special commendation for sound design from the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival for her work on the KU production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Tomkins is a 2012 graduate in music and is currently a graduate student at NYU, where she is a recipient of a Steinhardt Graduate Fellowship. She is a composer and a pianist, and she desires to work as a film composer.



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