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Women of Distinction Calendar honors 25 with ties to KU

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Women of Distinction Calendar 2015-2016LAWRENCE — Twenty-five women with ties to the University of Kansas are featured in the 2015-2016 Women of Distinction calendar. The Emily Taylor Resource Center for Women & Gender Equity, which produces the poster-sized calendar, will host a reception to honor the women and their achievements Monday, Aug. 31.

The women represent KU students, faculty, staff, administrators and alumnae who have distinguished achievements in their efforts at the university or in their community.

“It is so important to recognize and celebrate women's contributions to our campus and the world beyond,” said Kathy Rose-Mockry, director of the Emily Taylor center. “This year, we honor accomplished women who excel in their disciplines while serving as role models and mentors to inspire others to break barriers and reach for the stars.” 

Nine current students, seven alumnae and nine faculty and staff are featured on the calendar. Five areas of service and distinction also receive special attention through the calendar: Disability advocates, Hawks for health, women in flight, mentors making a difference and sisters in service.

A reception to acknowledge this year’s featured women and their contributions will be from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 31, in the ballroom of the Kansas Union. The public is welcome to attend.

The Women of Distinction calendars are free, although donations are accepted. They are available at several locations, including the KU Bookstore, Jayhawk Ink and the Emily Taylor Center, 4024 Wescoe Hall.   

Individuals featured on the 2015-2016 Women of Distinction Calendar and selected achievements and honors:

Emily Beck 
Doctoral candidate, bioengineering. Hometown: Manhattan, Kansas
National Science Foundation graduate research fellowship (2011)
National Science Foundation GK-12 Fellowship (2011)
Capitol Graduate Research Summit Kansas Bioscience Award (2014)

Prajnaparamita “Prajna” Dhar, Ph.D. Assistant professor, chemical and petroleum engineering
Research featured on the NIH Directors Blog and on the cover of Soft Matter, a Royal Society of Chemistry publication
School of Engineering Miller Scholar Award recipient
Selected for the doctoral dissertation award

Tammara Durham, Ed. D. Vice provost for student affairs and interim vice provost of undergraduate studies
Leadership in in enhancing campus response to student needs 
Work with student leaders, and in particular, Student Senate
Selected to serve as a mentor for the Hesselbein Global Academy, a leadership training program

Amy Long, M.A. Associate director, Student Involvement and Leadership Center
Outstanding Woman Staff Member, KU (2014)
Big Sister through Big Brothers Big Sisters of Douglas County for six years
Helped in the creation the KUnity, a social justice-focused emerging leaders retreat for greek members

Miranda Wagner B.A., economics, KU (2015). Hometown: Shawnee
Student body vice president (2014-15)
Alternative Breaks finance coordinator (2013-14)
Spring Breaks co-coordinator (2012-13)

Paige Whiteside
Senior, biology. Hometown: Jefferson City, Tennessee
Big XII Council on Black Student Government, vice chair (2014-15)
Mordean Taylor Archer Most Outstanding Council Member of the Year Award (2015)
EMMPWR (Exposing Multicultural Males to Personal Wellness Resources) research project assistant (January 2015-present)

Elizabeth Weis
Senior, marketing and supply chain management; Business School Honors Program. Hometown: Leawood
Head teaching assistant for statistics (DSCI 202), School of Business
Dean Neeli Bendapudi Scholarship recipient (2015)
KU representative at the Kansas Hunger Dialogue

Disability Advocates

Martha Hodgesmith, J.D.
Associate director, Research and Training Center on Independent Living, KU Life Span Institute
B.A., anthropology, sociology and women’s studies (1974); J.D. (1978)
Kansas Women Attorneys Association - Jennie Mitchell Kellogg Achievement Award (2005)
Women Attorneys Association of Topeka – Chief Justice Kay McFarland Award (2012)
Kansas Bar Association – Distinguished Government Service Award

Ranita Wilks, CESP
Peer counseling specialist and Youth Employment Program coordinator, Independence Inc.
B.S., Journalism, KU (1998).
Mentoring Matters Award-Kansas Youth Empowerment Academy (2014)
Michael Lechner Advocacy Award-Kansas Commission on Disability Concerns (2013)
Appointed to the Kansas Commission on Disability Concerns and State Rehab Council of Kansas

Jean Ann Summers, Ph.D.
Research professor, Life Span Institute; research director, Research & Training Center on Independent Living; director of research, Family Research Unit of the Beach Center
Ph.D., special education, KU (1987); B.G.S., applied behavioral science, KU
Has taken leadership role in generating more than $20 million in grants to develop support for people with disabilities and their families as well as enhance training to professionals during her 40-year tenure at KU 
Has volunteered to help develop funding for various family support organizations, including those serving diverse and low-income communities
Has nearly 100 publications in peer-reviewed journals, books and book chapters on families and disability, young children, fatherhood, self-determination and other research areas

Katerina Birge (not pictured)
Graduate student, public administration, University of Colorado. Hometown: Denver.
B.S., Latin American studies, KU (2011)
Co-founder/president of KU Ablehawks
Co-founder of Project Hope
Columnist, Creaky Joints, A Paso Lento

Hawks for Health

Leigh Loving
Graduate student, public health, Columbia University. Hometown: McPherson
B.S., biology with an emphasis in genetics, KU (2015)
Jayhawk Health Initiative, founder
Rhodes Scholar finalist (2015), Truman Scholar finalist (2014)
Kathleen McCluskey-Fawcett Outstanding Contribution Award (2014), Outstanding Woman Student in Leadership (2014)

Rajvi Shah
B.S., neurobiology, minor in psychology, pre-medicine concentration. Hometown: Stilwell
Honors Program Student Council, co-president
Student Health Advisory Board (Student Senate) voting board member
IBM Thomas J. Watson Memorial Fund Scholar

Women in Flight

Emily Arnold, Ph.D.
Assistant professor of aerospace engineering
NASA Earth and Space fellow (2012, 2013)
Amelia Earhart Fellow (2010, 2011)
NASA Group Achievement Award (2011)

Brooke Reid
Junior, aerospace engineering. Hometown: Cota de Caza, California
Self Engineering Leadership Fellow
American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, KU Branch, president (2014-15)
Vincent Muirhead Award for Leadership (April 2015)

Lauren Schumacher
Doctoral student, aerospace engineering. Hometown: Rolla, Missouri
American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Kansas representative for National Congressional Visit Day (2013)
KU University Scholars Program (Class of 2014)
Association for Women in Mathematics (AWM) KU: vice president for undergraduates (2013-15)

Mentors Making a Difference

Grecia Rucoba
Senior, accounting; Business School Honors Program. Hometown: Anthony
Multicultural Business Scholars Program
Megan E. Taylor Memorial Scholarship recipient (fall 2014)

Dale Urie, Ph.D.
Senior lecturer, Humanities and Western Civilization Program
Fulbright German Studies Seminar, Berlin (summer 2011)
Outstanding Woman Educator, KU (2010)
Excellence in Teaching Award, KU Center for Teaching Excellence (2007)

Lisa Browning
Enrollment and student services coordinator, KU Edwards Campus
Helped to build student and enrollment services for the KU Edwards Campus, collaborating with KU Lawrence
Advocate for all Edwards Campus students, especially international students and veterans
Developed the MetroKC program, which serves more than 250 students in Greater Kansas City

Cindy Lynn
Education coordinator, College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, Office of Graduate Affairs
Graduate student, African and African-American Studies
Ethel Bohning Single Mother of the Year Award, KU (2007)
Boy Scouts of America National Outstanding Cubmaster (2015)
KU Advocacy Corps, vice president

Ashley Kruger, M.S.E.
Career adviser, KU Business Career Services Center
Spearheaded a successful overhaul for the School of Business Mentorship Program
Overhauled web presence of BCSC services and resources (spring 2015)
Initiated an event to address the unique career needs of LGBTQ+ students (April 2015)

Sisters in Service

Shelby Webb
Graduate student, public health, emphasis in epidemiology, KU Medical Center. Hometown: Ottawa
B.S., biology with a concentration in genetics, KU (2015)
Alternative Breaks, co-director (2014-15)
Board of Class Officers, Campanile Award Winner (2015)
College of Liberal Arts & Sciences student senator (2013-15) 

Ally Briggs
B.S., biochemistry, minor in leadership studies, KU (2015). Hometown: Ottawa
Alternative Breaks, co-director (2014-15)
Kansas Women’s Leadership Institute graduate (2014)
Phi Delta Epsilon pre-medical fraternity, community service chair

Laura Lyndall Fagen
B.S., theatre and journalism - strategic communications, KU (2015). Hometown: Wichita
She’s The First* {KU}, founder and president
Her Campus KU, president
Center for Community Outreach, communications director

Erin Calhoun
Senior, behavioral neuroscience. Hometown: Naperville, Illinois
Chrysikou Cognitive Neuroscience Lab research assistant
Northwestern Memorial Health Care pre-medical intern (2014)
Center for Community Outreach managing director (2014-2015); development director (2013-2014).


Calendar

Engineering Research Highlights

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