The University of Kansas Chapter of Phi Kappa Phi selected Leah M. Meier as the winner of the 2008 James Blackiston Memorial Graduate Fellowship.
Leah is an honors student in Cell Biology from Salina, Kansas. The Blackiston Fellowship is the latest achievement for Leah, a Watkins-Berger and Dane Hansen Scholar, who is also a member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars and Sigma Alpha Lambda Honor Society, and a recipient of the Gould Undergraduate Research Award in Entomology and the Erma Reed Peterson Scholarship.
Leah has been involved in a variety of activities at KU and in the community. She has served as an undergraduate teaching assistant for Biology 102 as well as other courses and has served as a volunteer tutor for students in both Biology 101 and 102. She has also served as a volunteer in the Jubilee Cafe, serving breakfast to the homeless, and works 20 to 30 hours per week during winter and spring breaks shadowing Family Medicine Physicians, serving individuals in the poor and indigent populations.
After graduation in May, Leah, who was initiated in Phi Kappa Phi last Fall, plans to pursue an MD degree at the University of Kansas School of Medicine.
The Blackiston Memorial Fellowship is named in honor of James Blackiston, a graduate student in linguistics and instructor in the Intensive English Center who was active in the formation of the KU chapter in 1975. Blackiston died during the summer of 1975.
Phi Kappa Phi was established in 1897 to recognize academic excellence in all disciplines. Only the top 7 percent of seniors, the top 4 percent of last-term juniors and the top 10 percent of graduate students are invited to join. The KU chapter includes all of the schools of the university.
Phi Kappa Phi's primary objectives are to promote the pursuit of excellence in all fields of higher education and to recognize outstanding achievement by students, faculty and others by election to membership and through various awards for distinguished achievement.