LAWRENCE — Out of nearly 32,000 applicants from more than 2,400 institutions worldwide, 12 University of Kansas students have been selected for the 2022 Millennium Fellowship, a leadership development program overseen by the Millennium Campus Network in partnership with United Nations Academic Impact (UNAI).
UNAI’s 10 principles, along with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, or SGDs, inform the student-led community projects that the fellowship’s global network and resources support. Among the program’s more than 3,700 students, who together represent 207 campuses in 36 countries, are a dozen KU fellows:
- Eleazar Abraham, a junior majoring in chemistry, human biology, and global & international studies from Hayward, California
- Fatima Asif, a senior majoring in biochemistry and English from Overland Park
- Samuel Butler, a senior majoring in behavioral neuroscience and political science from Overland Park
- Eddie Church, a sophomore majoring in environmental studies from Lawrence
- Ammar Farra, a senior majoring in chemistry and history from Brentwood, Tennessee
- Brunojoel Hatungimana, a senior majoring in biochemistry from Manzini, Eswatini
- Soham Kawade, a sophomore majoring in biology from Pune, India
- Gabriela Ruiz, a senior majoring in economics and English from Overland Park
- Ian Reddy, a senior majoring in biology and exercise science from Augusta
- Aarush Sehgal, a sophomore majoring in molecular, cellular, & developmental biology from Chandigarh, India
- Nasrin Shahlari, a senior majoring in chemical engineering from Leawood
- Fabiana Salas Valdivia, a junior majoring in global & international studies and political science from Arequipa, Peru
“We are tremendously proud of our students for being selected to this year's class of Millennium Fellows,” Chancellor Douglas A. Girod said. “The University of Kansas’ mission is to lift students and society by educating leaders, building healthy communities and making discoveries that change the world. KU’s Millennium Fellows embody KU’s mission and values, and I am confident that their experience with the Millennium Fellowship will further enhance their ability to change the world for the better.”
KU is one of only 28 campuses in the U.S. to host a Millennium Fellowship campus hub. Abraham and Butler, who coordinated the program application, serve as the hub’s campus directors. Both were also the driving forces behind KU earning UNAI membership, which is required for Millennium Fellowship consideration.
Abraham and Butler are now tasked with helping hub members build leadership skills through the MCN Action Toolkit curriculum in preparation for a local project that makes progress on one of the UN’s 17 SGDs, which address global challenges like poverty, health and sustainability.
For their project, KU’s fellows will partner with Friends of the Kaw, an organization dedicated to protecting the Kansas River through education, advocacy and hands-on involvement. The students’ connection with the group stems from a river walk last spring led by Amy Burgin, professor and senior scientist with KU’s Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, and Dawn Buehler, riverkeeper for Friends of the Kaw. The tour was part of the University Honors Program’s Common Cause program, in which students seek solutions to an urgent issue through a symposium and service opportunities.
This fall, KU’s Millennium Fellows plan to participate in two river cleanup efforts as a part of their project. Potential project activities also include research assistance using ArcGIS, a geographic information system, and development of materials to raise awareness of the ecological, environmental and economic issues related to the Kansas River.
The fellowship concludes in November with the presentation of a certificate for fellows who complete their project. KU’s fellows will then incorporate their experience into a session for the 2023 Common Cause symposium in January, which will focus on the intersection of climate and health.
Those interested in the Millennium Fellowship, Common Cause, or United Nations Academic Impact affiliation can contact Mauricio Gomez Montoya, student experience designer for the University Honors Program, at MauricioGomez@ku.edu.