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New class of University Scholars represent the best of KU's future

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

LAWRENCE — Twenty University of Kansas sophomores have been named University Scholars, studying in disciplines ranging from chemical engineering to Russian and from behavioral neuroscience to linguistics.

The 20 scholars were recognized at a banquet Jan. 25 at the Kansas Union. The featured speaker was E.J. Reedy, director in Research and Policy with the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation in Kansas City and a member of the 18th class of University Scholars.

"As a University Scholar, the program impacted me a great deal through formal exposure to new ideas through readings and more informally in the friends that I made in the program, many of which ended up becoming lifelong,” Reedy said. “Topics discussed in my University Scholar seminar have influenced my work at the Kauffman Foundation.”

The students will participate in a seminar led by Philip Baringer, associate chair and professor of physics and astronomy.

“It’s a privilege to get to teach a seminar to 20 of the best students on campus. We’ll be exploring the theme of ‘time’ from a variety of perspectives,” Baringer said. “As a physicist, I know that perspective on time the best, but it is also an important concept in a wide range of fields like art, literature, philosophy, psychology, sociology, geology and astronomy. I’m looking forward to exploring these fields with the University Scholars.”

University Scholars are selected on the basis of academic credentials, commitment to their education, intellectual promise and evaluations by instructors, advisers and other faculty members. Students in their second year at KU with a 3.8 cumulative grade-point average are invited to apply. The University Scholars Program was founded in the spring of 1982 by Judge Deanell Tacha, then vice chancellor for academic affairs, and the late Professor Francis Heller. The program now counts more than 700 alumni who have gone on to success in a variety of professions.

The 2015 University Scholars are listed below by hometown, major, parents’ names (if available), high school and faculty mentor.

Will Admussen: Urbandale, Iowa; majoring in political science and economics; Chris and Karen Admussen; Urbandale High School; mentored by Mike Hoeflich in the School of Law.

Jose Aldana: Tarija, Bolivia; majoring in finance and supply chain management; Sonia Herbas and Gualberto Aldana; Santa Cruz Christian Learning Center; mentored by Hyunjin Seo in the Willliam Allen White School of Journalism & Mass Communications.

Ansley Bender: Salina; majoring in psychology; Mary Bender; Sacred Heart High School; mentored by Stephen Ilardi in psychology.

Rachel Benefiel: Lawrence; majoring in American studies, sociology, and film and media studies; Gregory and Helen Benefiel; mentored by Tamara Falicov in film and media studies.

Christopher Birzer: Leawood; majoring in chemical engineering; Kevin and Michele Birzer; Blue Valley West High School; mentored by Kyle Camarda in chemical and petroleum engineering.

Sofia de la O: Wichita; majoring in chemical engineering; pre-medicine; Beatriz Villarreal and Gerardo de la O; Wichita Heights High School; mentored by Prajna Dhar in chemical and petroleum engineering.

Hannah Dimmick: McLean, Virginia; majoring in exercise science; Matt and Nikki Dimmick; McLean High School; mentored by Trent Herda in health, sport and exercise science.

Audrey Evans: North Liberty, Iowa; majoring in engineering physics; Ike and Lynn Evans; Iowa City West High School; mentored by Kij Johnson, English.

John Handley: Onaga; majoring in chemical engineering; Mike and Tammy Handley; Onaga High School; mentored by Susan Johnson in chemical and petroleum engineering.

Amanda House: Overland Park; majoring in computer science; Shawn and Rhonda House; Blue Valley Northwest; mentored by Andy Gill in electrical engineering.

Shegufta Huma: Wichita; majoring in political science; Mohammad Anwar and Anjuman Ara; Wichita East High School; mentored by Gary Reich in political science.

Tomara Konstantinova: Overland Park; majoring in biology and anthropology; Olga Boston; Blue Valley West High School; mentored by Cindy Berrie in chemistry.

Emily Lenherr: Windom; majoring in neurobiology; William and Judy Lenherr; Hutchinson High School; mentored by Ben Eggleston in philosophy.

Madeline Level: Wichita; majoring in English, creative writing and linguistics; Kurt and Elaine Level; The Independent School; mentored by Joan Sereno in linguistics.

Matthew Pfannenstiel: Lawrence; majoring in behavioral neuroscience; Bruce Pfannenstiel and Kelly Calvert; Free State High School; mentored by Rick Ingram in psychology.

Daniel Pham: Overland Park; majoring in biochemistry and minoring in economics; David and Kim Pham; Shawnee Mission South High School; mentored by Roberto De Guzman in chemistry.

Antonio Schoneich: Lawrence; majoring in aerospace engineering and minoring in mathematics; Elena Ghezzo and Christian Schoneich; Free State High School; mentored by Eileen Nutting in philosophy.

Chad Uhl: Bonner Springs; majoring in computer science and classical antiquity; Lea Uhl; Bonnor Springs High School; mentored by Perry Alexander in electrical engineering and computer science.

Ike Uri: Concordia; majoring in sociology and Russian; Larry and Theresa Uri; Concordia High School; mentored by Ebenezer Obadare in sociology.

Tymon Wall: Winfield; majoring in political science; Brad and Kelly Wall; Winfield High School; mentored by Gail Buttorff in political science.

KU Today
Course offerings are “among the most comprehensive in the nation,” according to “A Review of Fifty Public University Honors Programs”
98% of University Honors Program graduates are employed or accepted to graduate school within six months of graduation
40% of students in the University Honors Program conduct research before graduation
9 to 1: Average ratio of KU honors students to faculty advisors
1 of only 7 programs nationwide to receive a top rating from “A Review of Fifty Public University Honors Programs” in 2014
60% of University Honors Program students study abroad
KU honors students select their advisors from top-ranked KU faculty