15 students selected as the 41st class of University Scholars
LAWRENCE — The 41st class of University Scholars and their faculty mentors were recently recognized during a reception April 26 in the Big 12 Room of the Kansas Memorial Union at the University of Kansas. University Honors Program Director Sarah Crawford-Parker and faculty member Hannah Britton delivered short remarks before attendees celebrated this year’s scholars and mentors with refreshments.
Competitively selected from KU’s sophomore class, University Scholars earn their distinction through rigorous academic achievement, intellectual promise, curiosity and leadership. This year’s cohort joins almost 800 alumni of the program and continues the tradition of exploring recent events through a multidisciplinary lens during a seminar taught by a distinguished KU faculty member.
This spring’s seminar is led by Britton, professor of political science and women, gender, & sexuality studies. “Justice or Reconciliation? Building Sustainable Peace After Conflict” examines the many ways societies try to come to terms with their collective pasts and specific histories. What effects do truth commissions, criminal tribunals or traditional healing ceremonies have on postwar nations? The course explores these various strategies to envision and attain lasting peace, their guiding values and their long-term impact.
Scholars also received a $1,500 scholarship and mentoring to help develop their academic and research interests. For 2022, an Honors Faculty Fellow was assigned as the faculty mentor for each scholar. The 2022 University Scholars are listed alphabetically with their hometowns, majors and mentors:
Elizabeth Appel: Kansas City, Missouri; majoring in civil engineering; mentored by Nilou Vakil, associate professor of architecture
Fatima Asif: Overland Park; majoring in biochemistry and English; mentored by Katie Batza, associate professor and director of graduate studies of women, gender & sexuality studies
Camden Baxter: Andover; majoring in economics and sociology; mentored by Dave Tell, professor of communication studies
Madeline Blake: Assaria; majoring in sociology and English; mentored by Stephanie Zelnick, professor of clarinet
Libby Frost: Wakeeney; majoring in management & leadership; mentored by Mary Klayder, associate director of undergraduate studies and lecturer in the Department of English
Elizabeth Funk: McLouth; majoring in chemical engineering; mentored by Kyle Camarda, associate professor of chemical & petroleum engineering
Bethlehem Kelecha: Olathe; majoring in English and political science; mentored by Darren Canady, director of undergraduate studies and professor of English
Nidia Lazos: Wichita; majoring in environmental studies; mentored by Amy Burgin, associate professor of ecology & evolutionary biology and associate scientist for the Kansas Biological Survey
Faith Lopez: Leavenworth; majoring in social welfare; mentored by Katie Rhine, associate professor in the departments of African & African-American Studies and Geography & Atmospheric Science
John Lubianetsky: Kansas City, Missouri; majoring in Chinese language & literature, global & international studies and political science; mentored by Nathan Wood, associate professor of history
Miles Luce: Kansas City, Missouri; majoring in women, gender & sexuality studies and the history of art; mentored by Stephanie Zelnick, professor of clarinet
Mei McConnell: Davis, California; majoring in sports management; mentored by Katie Rhine, associate professor in the departments of African & African-American Studies and Geography & Atmospheric Science
Emma Nasseri: Topeka; majoring in computer science and visual arts; mentored by Nilou Vakil, associate professor of architecture
Navya Singh: Chandigarh, India; majoring in molecular, cellular & developmental biology and chemistry; mentored by Katie Batza, associate professor and director of graduate studies of women, gender & sexuality studies
Kate Wienke: St. Louis; majoring in physics; mentored by Perry Alexander, AT&T Foundation Distinguished Professor of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science and director of the Information & Telecommunication Technology Center
Created to recognize and encourage academically talented and motivated sophomores, University Scholars was founded in 1982 under the leadership of retired U.S. 10th Circuit Chief Judge Deanell Tacha, then KU’s vice chancellor for academic affairs, along with longtime University Honors Program director Francis Heller, the Roy A. Roberts Distinguished Professor of Law and Political Science.
Photo: 2022 University Scholars, from front to back, left to right: Miles Luce, Faith Lopez, Elizabeth Funk, and Emma Nasseri; Mei McConnell, Navya Singh, Libby Frost, Fatima Asif, and Madeline Blake; John Lubianetsky, Elizabeth Appel, Kate Wienke, and Camden Baxter. Not pictured: Bethlehem Kelecha and Nidia Lazos.