KU News: Four KU students nominated for Truman scholarships

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Center for East Asian Studies resumes public health series programming
LAWRENCE — The Center for East Asian Studies (CEAS) will continue its 2022-23 public health series with two Global Asia Speaker events and a two-day symposium in the coming months. The first speaker event, in “Dying with the Buddha: The Twenty-four Buddhist Talismans in Chosŏn Korea,” will take place at 7 p.m. Feb. 9. The interdisciplinary symposium April 7-8 will welcome Aileen Smith, an activist and photographer who will screen “Minamata.” The 2020 feature film is a biographical drama about Smith and her partner, Wichita photojournalist W. Eugene Smith, as they worked to expose the ravages of industrial mercury poisoning in the Japanese village of Minamata.

KU Libraries will welcome dean candidates to campus
LAWRENCE – Four candidates will give public presentations in a bid to be the next dean of University of Kansas Libraries. The name of each candidate will be announced approximately two business days before their respective campus visit, with visits scheduled Feb. 13, 16, 21 and 23. All public presentations will take place in Watson Library in the Watson 3 West Event Space, and they will be livestreamed.

Four KU students nominated for Truman scholarships
LAWRENCE — Four outstanding students have been selected as the University of Kansas nominees for Harry S. Truman Scholarships. The prestigious national awards, which provide up to $30,000 for graduate study, are given to college juniors for leadership in public service. They are highly competitive, with only about 60 Truman Scholars named nationwide each year. The four nominees are students from Eudora, Lawrence and Olathe.

Full stories below.

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Contact: LaGretia Copp, Center for East Asian Studies, 785-864-0307, [email protected], @KUEastAsia
Center for East Asian Studies resumes public health series programming
LAWRENCE — The Center for East Asian Studies (CEAS) will soon launch the second phase of its 2022-23 public health series. Last fall, the center presented a film series addressing diverse public health-related issues. CEAS will continue its series with two Global Asia Speaker events and a two-day symposium in spring 2023.
The first event is a virtual talk by Sujung Kim, associate professor of religious studies at DePauw University. She will discuss the religious, historical and iconographic dimensions of healing talismans and talismanic culture in East Asia in “Dying with the Buddha: The Twenty-four Buddhist Talismans in Chosŏn Korea” at 7 p.m. Feb. 9.

The second Global Asia speaker, Rae Erin Dachille, assistant professor of religious studies and East Asian studies at University of Arizona, will lecture on Tibetan Buddhism with a focus on body mandala, ritual, representation and imagination in “Applying the Antidote: A Tantric Perspective on Body, Representation and Imagination” at 3:30 p.m. Feb. 15 at the Sabatini Multicultural Resource Center.
The CEAS Public Health Symposium on April 7-8 at the Sabatini center will bring together graduate students from various disciplines with a wide range of theoretical and methodological approaches to highlight whole-body mental health and healthy behaviors; health access and communication in contexts of race, class, gender, sexuality, caste, ethnicity and other intersectionalities, providing new connections with culturally diverse and hard-to-reach populations; and quick and informed responses to health risks and public health emergencies or pandemics. The symposium will start with a keynote address followed by three panels covering the topics mentioned. Each panel features guest scholars and KU graduate students from varied disciplines to foster further active interactions, knowledge exchanges and academic collaboration. Graduate students will also be able to register for a professionalization workshop.
On the second day of the symposium, the center will welcome Aileen Smith, activist, photographer and co-author of “Minamata: The Story of the Poisoning of a City and the People Who Choose to Carry the Burden of Courage” (Holt, 1975). She will screen the feature film “Minamata” (2020) at the Lawrence Public Library at 2 p.m. The movie is a biographical drama about Aileen and her partner, Wichita photojournalist W. Eugene Smith, as they worked to expose the ravages of industrial mercury poisoning in the Japanese village of Minamata. Smith and Andrew Levitas, the film’s director, will lead a discussion after the showing. Smith also plans to visit local high schools for dialogues on public health, environmental issues and social movements.
CEAS is a Title VI-funded National Resource Center that promotes East Asian languages and cultures to a variety of audiences in the Midwest through K-12 and community college educator workshops and resources, public events, and area partnerships. The center was founded in 1959.

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Contact: Evan Riggs, Office of the Provost, 785-864-1085, [email protected], @KUProvost
KU Libraries will welcome dean candidates to campus
LAWRENCE – Four candidates will give public presentations in a bid to be the next dean of University of Kansas Libraries. The university is seeking a leader who will guide KU Libraries beyond its traditional responsibilities to meet the emerging needs of the university and the community it serves.
Dean candidates will describe their vision and aspiration for the role of libraries in the next 10 years at a flagship state university.
“Each finalist brings expertise in the field and would benefit KU Libraries, the university and the community,” said Arvin Agah, dean of the KU School of Engineering and co-chair of the search committee. Mary Walsh, chief information officer for KU Lawrence/Edwards, also serves as co-chair of the search committee.
Members of the KU community are encouraged to attend each candidate’s public presentation and provide feedback to the search committee. The name of each candidate will be announced approximately two business days before their respective campus visit.
All public presentations will be in Watson Library in the Watson 3 West Event Space, and they will be livestreamed. Public presentations for each of the candidates are scheduled for the following dates:
1. Candidate 1: 2:30-3:30 p.m. Feb. 13
2. Candidate 2: 3:30-4:30 p.m. Feb. 16
3. Candidate 3: 3-4 p.m. Feb. 21
4. Candidate 4: 3-4 p.m. Feb. 23
“The search committee reviewed an excellent field of candidates,” Walsh said. “We are thrilled by the finalists who will visit campus and share with the KU community their vision for the future of libraries.”
KU Libraries sets out to transform lives by inspiring the discovery and creation of knowledge for the university and global community. Furthermore, KU Libraries is a place of welcome, amplifying the diverse voices of the KU community. It also serves as a leader in the dissemination of knowledge, advancing innovative and substantial ways to collect, create and steward resources. KU Libraries partners in connecting and engaging communities, fostering student success and transformative research.
More information about the department and the search committee can be found online.

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Contact: Erin Wolfram, Academic Success, 785-864-2308, [email protected]
Four KU students nominated for Truman scholarships
LAWRENCE — Four outstanding students have been selected as the University of Kansas nominees for Harry S. Truman Scholarships.
The prestigious national awards, which provide up to $30,000 for graduate study, are given to college juniors for leadership in public service. They are highly competitive, with only about 60 Truman Scholars named nationwide each year.
This year’s KU nominees:
1. Sivani Badrivenkata, Lawrence, majoring in pharmaceutical sciences
2. Kat Balke, Eudora, majoring in English and Italian
3. Cherin Russell, Lawrence, majoring in English
4. Caroline Steele, Olathe, majoring in political science and Spanish and minoring in social justice
Criteria for the nominations include an extensive record of campus and community service, commitment to a career in government or the nonprofit and advocacy sectors, communication skills and a high probability of becoming a “change agent,” and a strong academic record with likely acceptance to the graduate school of the candidate’s choice.
The campus nomination process is coordinated by the Office of Fellowships, a unit of Academic Success. Students interested in applying for the Truman Scholarship in future years are encouraged to contact the office, which can nominate a limited number of students each year.
Scholars receive priority admission and supplemental financial aid at some premier graduate institutions, leadership training, career and graduate school counseling, and special internship opportunities within the federal government.
Since 1981, 20 KU students have become Truman Scholars. Samuel Steuart was the most recent KU student to receive the honor in 2019.
Congress established the Truman Scholarship Foundation in 1975 as the federal memorial to President Harry S. Truman. A national selection committee reviews applications from more than 800 nominees for the Truman Foundation. Approximately 200 students will be named finalists in late February and invited for regional interviews in March and early April. The scholarship recipients will be announced in late April.
More information about KU’s nominees is below:
Sivani Badrivenkata, from Lawrence, is the daughter of Dayakar Badri and Haarisa Valasa and a graduate of Free State High School. Badrivenkata is majoring in pharmaceutical sciences and plans to pursue a doctorate in pharmaceutical chemistry to teach and conduct translational research in academia with a focus on integrating biologics in formulations to address global health needs. She currently conducts research in Michael Hageman’s pharmaceutical chemistry lab to assess the viability/efficacy of lactoferrin to treat vaginal E. coli infections in pregnant patients to prevent neonatal sepsis. Badrivenkata is a recipient of a spring 2023 Undergraduate Research Award, presented at the 2022 Kansas Pharmacists Association’s annual meeting and tradeshow and participated in the 2022 summer Undergraduate Research Program within the KU Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry. She currently works as a speech and debate assistant coach at Free State High School, and in summer 2021, she was a research intern for a prostate clinical research project through KU Medical Center. Badrivenkata is a KU Global Scholar and a member of the University Honors Program, for which she serves as a program ambassador and previously served as an honors seminar assistant. Additionally, she hosted an art exhibition at the Kansas Union Gallery in fall 2021 and currently has five paintings displayed in KU campus libraries through spring 2023.

Kat Balke, from Eudora, is the daughter of Jennifer and Bruce Balke and a graduate of Blue Valley High School. Balke is double majoring in English and Italian and aspires to earn a doctorate in English with a concentration in British medieval literature; become an English professor; and run a campus women’s center to support, advocate for and provide a safe space for abuse survivors. Balke transferred to KU from DePauw University. In her role as the vice president of equity and justice within student government, she successfully drafted legislation naming the new first-year residence hall Vernon E. Jordan Jr. Hall after the institution’s first African American graduate. Currently at KU, in collaboration with Jonathan Lamb, associate professor of English, Balke is researching ecofeminism in William Shakespeare’s “As You Like It.” Additional research interests include gender, sexuality and consent in the Middle Ages. She also serves as a peer consultant and workshop facilitator for the KU Writing Center and is a student representative on the KU Core Curriculum Committee. Balke is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Helen Rhoda Hoopes Award for best English undergraduate essay written by a woman and was selected as a 2022 Distinguished Italian Student.

Cherin Russell, from Lawrence, is the daughter of Elizabeth Coleman and a graduate of Lawrence High School. Russell is a McNair Scholar majoring in English and plans to earn a master’s degree in interdisciplinary studies and become a grant writer at a consultancy or environmental nonprofit. She recently joined the volunteer team at the Ballard Center to assist with grant writing and environmental concerns. Russell also serves as a mentor within KU’s Academic Retention and Engagement Center and a tutor for the Academic Learning Center. Russell was awarded second place for the Helen Rhoda Hoopes Award for best English undergraduate essay written by a woman and earned the Certificate of Excellence in French Studies three semesters in a row, the TRIO 1st Year Achievement Award and the Paul B. Lawson Memorial Scholarship given to outstanding juniors. She has been a volunteer and advocate in the Lawrence community for more than 10 years and currently serves as an advocate at KU for nontraditional students and students with invisible disabilities.

Caroline Steele, from Olathe, is the daughter of Tim and Julie Steele and a graduate of Olathe Northwest High School. Steele is double majoring in political science and Spanish and minoring in social justice. She plans to pursue joint juris doctor and master’s degrees in public policy or public affairs, become an immigration attorney and develop policy for immigration reform. She has held several positions within Kappa Alpha Theta sorority, including vice president of Panhellenic executive board, founder and committee chair of the Wellness Committee, chair of the Spirit Committee and member of the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee. She is also a member of the Dole Institute Student Advisory Board, a founding executive board member of the Women in Leadership Conference within KU Student Senate and a founding member of the Accessibility Committee and member of the Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Committee of the KU Panhellenic Association. Steele currently serves as an Eye of an Immigrant ally, volunteers with the Johnson County Christmas Bureau and is a voter registration volunteer. In 2021, she served as the legal and city manager’s intern with the City of Olathe, and in 2022, she was a legislative intern in the office of Kansas Rep. Steven Johnson. Steele is a member of the University Honors Program and is the recipient of numerous awards, including the KU Chancellor’s Scholarship for academic excellence, the Great Plains Association Paul Max Service Scholarship for outstanding and innovative dedication to service and the Olathe Northwest Faculty Award, given to one outstanding senior in the graduating class.

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