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Five seniors, one alumnus to compete for Rhodes, Marshall, Mitchell scholarships

Wed, 10/05/2022

LAWRENCE — Five current seniors and a recent graduate at the University of Kansas will compete for prestigious fellowships for study in the United Kingdom and Ireland this year with the support of KU's Office of Fellowships.

Current seniors Virginia Hannahan and Ximena Ibarra have been endorsed for the Mitchell Scholarship, which provides funding for one year of study in Ireland. Hannahan and Ibarra are joined by seniors Christopher Kywe, Mary Sevart and recent graduate Joseph Hartung in being endorsed for the Marshall Scholarship, which provides funding for graduate study at any university in the United Kingdom. Aylar Atadurdyyeva, along with Hannahan, Ibarra, Kywe and Sevart, were endorsed for the Rhodes Scholarship, which provides expenses for one to three years of study at the University of Oxford in England.

Regional panels review applications for both the Rhodes and Marshall scholarship programs. The Mitchell Scholarship has a first-round video interview before finalist interviews in November. Finalists for the Rhodes and Marshall are invited to participate in interviews in November. Only U.S. citizens can apply for the Marshall and Mitchell scholarships, while the Rhodes Scholarship has 20 constituencies around the world, including the United States and Canada, and a new Global Rhodes Scholarship program.

The Office of Fellowships, a unit of Academic Success, coordinates KU's endorsement process and supports candidates through the application process. Students interested in applying for these awards are encouraged to contact the office by email at fellowships@ku.edu. Depending on other eligibility requirements, students may apply for these awards as graduating seniors or recent graduates.

KU students have previously won two Mitchell Scholarships, nine Marshall Scholarships and 27 Rhodes Scholarships.

Aylar Atadurdyyeva, University of Kansas studentAylar Atadurdyyeva is the daughter of Abdyrahym Atadurdyyev and Bagty Atadurdyyeva. She is a senior in microbiology, global & international studies, political science and Slavic studies with minors in German studies and psychology. An international student from Turkmenistan, Atadurdyyeva plans a career in global public health that both develops health research and applies it through education and policy interventions. Atadurdyyeva's primary interests involve understanding and combating antimicrobial resistance, particularly in Central Asia and other regions in which health outcomes are impaired by social factors like policy and health access. She was selected as a Key into Public Service Scholar by the Phi Beta Kappa Society. Since joining KU, Atadurdyyeva has won the RWJ Scholars Award, Mai Anh Do & David Nguyen Foundation Scholarship and Laird Essay Award, and her record of service to KU and the Lawrence community has been widely recognized by the KU Homecoming Steering Committee director, the International Student Association and the University Honors Program, which enrolled her as an ambassador and a seminar assistant. Atadurdyyeva is also the executive director of The Big Event and director of finance and partnerships of Student Union Activities. Among these accomplishments, she is being named the KU Student Employee of the Year as well as the State of Kansas Student Employee of the Year in 2022 for her work for the Office of Graduate Studies.

Virgina Hannahan

Virginia Hannahan, University of Kansas studentVirgina Hannahan, of Fairhope, Alabama, is majoring in philosophy with a certificate in logic and formal reasoning. She is the daughter of Tommy and Bridget Hannahan and a graduate of St. Michael Catholic High School. Hannahan is the founder and president of the Students for Personal and Academic Resources for Kids (SPARK) Project, which provides academic, artistic and athletic enrichment opportunities for students in East Lawrence. She also works for Boys & Girls Club of Lawrence at New York Elementary School, where she coordinates Project Learn, an afterschool academic enrichment program. Hannahan serves as the president of the Undergraduate Philosophy Club and Thomistic Institute, and she is an active parishioner at the St. Lawrence Catholic Student Center. In her free time, she enjoys listening to the "Advisory Opinions" podcast and watching KU basketball games.

Ximena Ibarra

Ximena IbarraXimena Ibarra, of Pittsburg, is double majoring in political science and American studies with a minor in Spanish and is a graduate of Pittsburg High School. She is the daughter of Susana Quintana and Marco Ibarra. After graduation, Ibarra plans to earn a juris doctor focusing on law and social change. She is a member of the University Honors Program and was selected as a 2020-2021 University Scholar. Ibarra served as the chair of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee at KU, where she co-organized and moderated a town hall forum that provided students from underrepresented groups the opportunity to voice their concerns. She is also the vice president of the ACLU at KU, was the student representative for Kansas for Constitutional Freedom and is a founding member of Lawrence Freedgin Kansas community food pantry. Additionally, she was a student ambassador for the Center for Sexuality & Gender Diversity and formerly served as the founder and Campus Corps leader for Jayhawks for Bernie in 2020. Ibarra also participated in the Bench Builder Summer Internship Program within the Kansas Democratic Party during summer 2021 and served as an intern at the American Bar Association’s Commission on Immigration in Washington, D.C., throughout spring 2022. 

Christopher Kywe

Christopher Kywe, University of Kansas studentChristopher Kywe, from Leawood, is the son of Myo Kywe and Ma Myat and is a senior pursuing a bachelor's degree in molecular, cellular & developmental biology, with a minor in French. Kywe has been on the Dean’s List since his first semester at the university, was inducted to Phi Beta Kappa and has thrived as a member of the University Honors Program. His current research investigates what causes differences in innate immune response following bacterial infections. In fall 2021, he was awarded an Undergraduate Research Award to pursue this work, and in 2022, he received the Jenna Robinson Memorial Scholarship and the Del and Carol Shankel Biomedical Opportunity Award. In addition to his research endeavors, Kywe has a passion for community outreach and public service. He started the KU Chapter of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) and serves as KU Chemistry Club’s president. Outside of the institution, he has also served as a volunteer for the Crisis Text Line to assist individuals with mental health crises, as well as for Lawrence Memorial Hospital to help with patient transport and to assist nursing staff. He also organized a fundraiser to collect hospital supplies and provide free therapy and meals to families in the emergency room. Kywe hopes to become a research professor at an R1 institution to illuminate the role that genetic differences play in disease pathogenesis and use his position to inspire the next generation of scientists. To this end, he hopes to pursue a graduate degree in the United Kingdom, where he will use genomics to investigate cancer drug resistance and work on cancer prevention. 

Mary Sevart

Mary SevartMary Sevart, from Wichita, is the daughter of Eric and Karen Sevart and a graduate of Maize High School. Sevart is majoring in chemical engineering with plans to pursue a doctorate in the same field. Currently, Sevart serves as the testing lab manager for the KU Biodiesel Initiative and conducts undergraduate research under Susan Williams, Charles E. & Mary Jane Spahr Professor, with a focus on the valorization of hemp biomass to create a fuel source. She also is the co-president of KU's Society of Women Engineers chapter and a KU School of Engineering ambassador. In spring of 2022, Sevart was named a Barry M. Goldwater scholar as well as Outstanding Junior of the Year in the Department of Chemical & Petroleum Engineering. She was also selected as a university representative for the Kansas Undergraduate Research Days at the Capitol event. In fall 2021, Sevart won first place in the Society of Women Engineers national poster competition, and in spring 2021, she received the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Ernest F. Hollings Scholarship and an Undergraduate Research Award. Sevart worked at Spirit AeroSystems in Wichita in the summer of 2021 as a materials and processes engineering intern, and most recently during summer 2022, she interned at the National Weather Service in State College, Pennsylvania, as a hydrology intern, with a focus on improving the accuracy of river forecasting models. 

Joseph Hartung

Joseph Hartung, University of Kansas studentJoseph Hartung, from St. Louis, is the son of John and Mary Hartung. A graduate of St. Louis University High School, he graduated with a double major in history and global & international studies and triple minored in African & African American studies, national security studies and political science. A member of the University Honors Program, he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa as a junior. He was selected as a 2020 Boren Scholar and 2021 Phi Beta Kappa Key into Public Service Scholar. Hartung spent spring 2021 in Kenya as a researcher for the Horn International Institute for Strategic Studies. Hartung has also performed research for the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, and the U.S. Army Foreign Military Studies Office. A scholar in the Intelligence Community Center for Academic Excellence, Hartung has interned for Africa-focused sections of the U.S. Department of State and Department of Defense. On campus, he was involved with the Kiswahili Program, the Sailing Club, KU Jazz Ensemble I and the All Scholarship Hall Council. He volunteered for the Countering Wildlife Trafficking Institute, Wale Wale Kenya and Outreach International. 



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