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Forty researchers win KU 'Leading Light' Award

Thu, 03/07/2013

LAWRENCE – The University of Kansas recognized some of its most productive researchers recently, conferring the Leading Light Award on 40 faculty and staff at the Lawrence campus.

The 40 are principal investigators or co-principal investigators on externally funded grants of  $1 million or more awarded during the 2012 fiscal year. Recipients were recognized at a luncheon, where each received an inscribed bronze sunflower symbolic of Kansas and their leadership in research.

This is the second year of the Leading Light Award program.  It was established at KU by Jeff Vitter, provost and executive vice chancellor. “By contributing to the research enterprise at KU in a major way,” said Vitter, “these individuals and teams serve as leading lights and role models for others.”

At the ceremony, recipients of the awards had an opportunity to describe their project. Past recipients of the award also attended the luncheon.

“KU researchers in all fields are competitive with the best in the country,” said event co-host Steve Warren, vice chancellor for research and graduate studies. “Success in obtaining large grants is just one indicator of that, and this recognition is well-deserved.”

The 2013 recipients of the KU Leading Light Award:

  • Brian Ackley, Molecular Biosciences
  • Mizuki Azuma, Molecular Biosciences
  • James Basham, Special Education
  • Cory Berkland, Chemical and Petroleum Engineering, Pharmaceutical Chemistry
  • Cindy Berrie, Chemistry
  • Brian Blagg, Medicinal Chemistry
  • Kyle Camarda, Chemical and Petroleum Engineering
  • Karin Lee Chang-Rios, Institute for Educational Research and Public Service
  • Keith Chauvin, School of Business
  • Francie Christopher, Institute for Educational Research and Public Service
  • Edith Clowes, Slavic Languages and Literature
  • John Colombo, Psychology, Life Span Institute
  • Prajna Dhar, Chemical and Petroleum Engineering
  • John Doveton, Kansas Geological Survey
  • Dietrich Earnhart, Economics
  • Jianwen Fang, Molecular Structures Group
  • Jeannine Goetz, Dietetics and Nutrition, School of Health Professions
  • Diana Greer, Center for Research on Learning
  • Michael Johnson, Chemistry
  • John Karanicolas, Center for Bioinformatics, Molecular Biosciences
  • Sarah Kieweg, Mechanical Engineering
  • Jennifer Laurence, Pharmaceutical Chemistry
  • Young-Jin Lee, Educational Leadership and Policy Studies
  • Craig Lunte, Chemistry
  • Danny Marfatia, Physics and Astronomy
  • Matthew Mayo, Biostatistics
  • Douglas McKay, Physics and Astronomy
  • Edward Meyen, Special Education
  • Richard Miller, Kansas Geological Survey
  • Anil Misra, Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering
  • Kerry Newell, Kansas Geological Survey
  • John Ralston, Physics and Astronomy
  • Sean Smith, Special Education
  • Debra Sullivan, Dietetics and Nutrition, School of Health Professions
  • Michael Taylor, Geology
  • David Volkin, Pharmaceutical Chemistry
  • Jane Wegner, Speech-Language-Hearing
  • Todd Williams, Molecular Structures Group
  • Judy Wu, Physics and Astronomy
  • Qiang Ye, Bioengineering Research Center.

 



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.


One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
26 prestigious Rhodes Scholars — more than all other Kansas colleges combined
Nearly $290 million in financial aid annually
46 nationally ranked graduate programs.
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Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.
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