KU News: KU Alumni Association, Black Alumni Network honor leaders and innovators

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KU Alumni Association, Black Alumni Network honor leaders and innovators
LAWRENCE — Nine alumni will receive the University of Kansas Alumni Association’s Black Alumni Network Mike and Joyce Shinn Leaders and Innovators Award for their contributions to the university, their profession and their communities. They include notable KU graduates who reside in Lawrence and the Greater Kansas City area.

Study: Whether journalists who left jobs chose to or were laid off predicts physical, emotional reaction
LAWRENCE — More than half of U.S. newspaper jobs have been cut since 2008. A new study from the University of Kansas explores how journalists have dealt with the emotional and physical toll of unemployment and how they adjusted to new jobs and careers. Those findings likely illustrate what the thousands more journalists who lost jobs during the pandemic will experience in coming years.

New School of Business program aims to instill professional excellence among undergraduates
LAWRENCE — The University of Kansas School of Business has launched a new program aimed at developing professionalism among undergraduate business students. The Professionalism Program includes a series of six 1-credit courses focused on fostering career skills, as well as a required internship and networking opportunities.

Thirteen KU students receive Undergraduate Research Awards for fall
LAWRENCE — This fall, 13 University of Kansas students will receive an Undergraduate Research Award (UGRA). The recipients, who are awarded $1,000 scholarships as they work on mentored research and creative projects, include Kansas students from La Crosse, Lawrence, Leawood, Olathe and Shawnee.

Full stories below.

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Contact: Jennifer Sanner, KU Alumni Association, 785-864-9782, [email protected]; @KUAlumni
KU Alumni Association, Black Alumni Network honor leaders and innovators
LAWRENCE — Nine alumni will receive the University of Kansas Alumni Association’s Black Alumni Network Mike and Joyce Shinn Leaders and Innovators Award for their contributions to the university, their profession and their communities. The award is named for the late Mike Shinn, a 1966 School of Engineering alumnus, who helped found the Black Alumni Network and the Leaders and Innovators Project, and his wife, Joyce.

The nine recipients will be honored Oct. 14 on the first evening of the network’s biennial reunion, during KU’s Homecoming weekend:
1. Luke Bobo, Shawnee, who received his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering in 1982;
2. Phyllis Stevens Chase, Kansas City, Missouri, who completed her bachelor’s degree in education in 1971 and her doctorate in educational administration in 1987;
3. Patricia Weems Gaston, Lawrence, who earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism in 1981;
4. Denise White Gilmore, Hoover, Alabama, who received her bachelor’s degree in accounting in 1977;
5. Darren James, Lewisville, Texas, who earned his bachelor’s degree in architecture in 1992;
6. Mark McCormick, Leawood, a 1990 journalism graduate;
7. Clantha Carrigan McCurdy, Natick, Massachusetts, who completed her doctorate in educational evaluation in 1995;
8. Aaron Thomas, Overland Park, a 2000 College of Liberal Arts & Sciences graduate; and
9. Irvetta Williams, St. Louis, who earned her bachelor’s degree in architecture in 1987.

Luke Bobo is a nationally recognized speaker and writer on apologetics and public theology. He serves as vice president of strategic partnerships for Made to Flourish, an organization that provides resources and engagement opportunities to a national network of pastors. He is also a visiting professor at the Institute of Biblical Studies and a visiting instructor at Covenant Theological Seminary.

For his community, he serves on the boards for Carver Baptist Bible College, the Center for Public Justice and HustleUSA. For KU, he has served on the School of Engineering’s Diversity & Women’s Advisory Board and is a trustee for the Department of Religious Studies. He also served on the Alumni Association’s national board of directors, and he led the KU Black Alumni Network as president.

In addition to his KU electrical engineering degree, he earned a master’s degree in engineering, a master’s of divinity and a doctorate in education leadership.

Phyllis Stevens Chase is a professor and the PK-12 EdD Program coordinator for Baker University. During her career she has served in numerous leadership roles, including superintendent for the public school districts in Topeka and the cities of Kansas City, Springfield, Columbia and North Kansas City, Missouri.
She also has volunteered as a board member for many organizations, including Mercantile Bank, the United Way of the Ozarks and the Topeka Symphony.

Patricia Weems Gaston returned to KU in 2018 to become the Lacy C. Haynes Professor of Journalism after her career as an award-winning journalist. She served in many editorial roles for The Washington Post, where she helped produce the national, foreign, features, editorial and opinion sections. Before the Post, she was assistant international editor for the Dallas Morning News and part of a Pulitzer Prize-winning team that reported on violence against women.

Gaston advises the staff of the University Daily Kansan, mentors students through the Rising Scholars Program and serves on the KU Faculty Senate executive committee.

Denise White Gilmore is an advocate and leader on issues of social and racial justice and equitable community development. She is the senior director for the Division of Social Justice & Racial Equity in the Office of Mayor Randall L. Woodfin of Birmingham, Alabama. She leads multidisciplinary efforts to serve marginalized communities and helps preserve, rehabilitate and share areas of cultural significance. Currently, she leads the city’s efforts to continue the development of the Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument, which was created by former President Barack Obama in 2017.

She also serves on the strategic planning committee for the Alabama African American Civil Rights Sites Heritage Consortium and has served on the board for the Kansas City Affiliate of the Susan G. Komen Foundation. Gilmore is also an active and proud member of Delta Sigma Theta sorority.

Darren James is president of KAI Enterprises, a design and construction services firm with eight offices across six states. Prior to KAI, James served as the architect and assistant director for construction at Texas Woman’s University.

In the Dallas-Fort Worth area, he serves as the president of Fair Park First, a nonprofit group that oversees equitable growth and development of a historic neighborhood in South Dallas. He also chairs the Dallas Black Chamber of Commerce, one of the oldest Black chambers in the United States. He has served on the boards of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Dallas and the Dallas Citizen’s Council and the advisory board of the KU School of Architecture & Design. He recently was named to D CEO Magazine’s “500 Most Influential Business Leaders in North Texas.”

Mark McCormick serves as the director of strategic communications for the ACLU of Kansas. He also serves on Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly’s Racial Equity & Justice Commission, on the board for the Association of African American Museums and as a trustee of the William Allen White Foundation at the KU journalism school. He has worked as a reporter for The Wichita Eagle, The Louisville Courier-Journal and the Springfield News-Leader. He is the author of “Barry Sanders: Now You See Him … His Story in His Own Words.” McCormick holds five gold medals from the Kansas City Press Club and was recognized as the club’s “Best Columnist” in 2009. He also served as the executive director of the Kansas African American History Museum.

Clantha Carrigan McCurdy is the senior deputy commissioner for access and student financial assistance with the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education, where she manages the legislative budget for scholarships, grants, tuition waivers and student loans for current and prospective students.
She also serves as president of the National Association of State Student Grant and Aid Programs and on the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Advisory Committee of the KU School of Education & Human Sciences. Her honors include the Massachusetts Performance Recognition Award and the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators Service Award. The Eos Foundation recently named her one of the “50 Most Influential People of Color in Higher Education.”

Aaron Thomas is executive producer and CEO of Wyandotte Entertainment Inc. and an adjunct professor at the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts. He is also the executive producer of the popular TV show “S.W.A.T.,” airing on CBS. He has written for numerous other shows including “Soul Food: The Series,” “Friday Night Lights” and “CSI: New York.”

He mentors the next generation of writers and is a frequent guest speaker for the CBS Writers’ Program. He also helped create a mentoring program for television writers of color in the Los Angeles area.

Irvetta Williams is the founder and lead consultant for iJay Enterprises, a firm that helps developers and municipalities navigate pre-construction and building code processes. She also is an expert in leveraging tax increment financing and community development block grants to develop residential and commercial projects across the Greater St. Louis area.

She has been involved with several professional organizations, including the Missouri Workforce Housing Association, the National Association of Minority Architects, the Missouri Association of Code Enforcement and the National Association of Housing & Redevelopment Officials.

She is an adviser to the KU School of Architecture & Design, and she served on the board of the St. Louis Community Builders Network and the Foreclosure Intervention Taskforce of the Urban League of Metro St. Louis.
Since 2006, the Black Alumni Network has honored more than 80 Leaders and Innovators. For information about the network and the 2021 Reunion Weekend Oct. 14-17, visit kualumni.org/ban.

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Contact: Mike Krings, KU News Service, 785-864-8860, [email protected], @MikeKrings
Study: Whether journalists who left jobs chose to or were laid off predicts physical, emotional reaction
LAWRENCE — More than half of U.S. newspaper jobs have been cut since 2008. A new study from the University of Kansas explores how journalists have dealt with the emotional and physical toll of unemployment and how they adjusted to new jobs and careers. Those findings likely illustrate what the thousands more journalists who lost jobs during the pandemic will experience in coming years.

Researchers from the William Allen White School of Journalism & Mass Communications replicated a study of former journalists originally conducted in Australia. In surveying more than 300 journalists who left the field, the study found large percentages of former journalists who suffered depression, shock and financial difficulties, but also significant numbers who reported relief and improved lifestyle. And the responses were highly predicted by whether they chose to leave or were forced out of their job.

Scott Reinardy, Malcolm Applegate Professor in News Management and Editing at KU, was co-author of the study with Lawrie Zion of La Trobe University in Australia and Annalise Baines, doctoral candidate in journalism & mass communications at KU. It was published in the Newspaper Research Journal.

“The U.S. has always been a little ahead, not in a good way, in terms of layoffs, buyouts and intense changes in the industry. I don’t know exactly why, but that has been reflected in the research,” Reinardy said. “For this study, you had one group with a plan that they pursued, and another, though not necessarily caught off guard, were put in a place of trauma. You’re talking different stressors, and that was also reflected in the data.”

The study aimed to determine how job loss affected the well-being of journalists, the coping strategies they used following job loss and how reemployment affected their well-being. The first group, which included people who left newspapers on their own, mostly had a positive reaction to leaving their jobs. Nearly half (49%) used language such as “relieved, excited and happy,” while 21% used language such as “sad, devastated and depressed” when discussing their emotional reaction. In the second group, which included journalists who were laid off or took a buyout, 70% of participants reported they felt “devastated, depressed, disappointed, heartbroken, stressed, sad, irritated and angry.”

Among coping strategies, former journalists reported taking comfort among family, friends and colleagues, getting a new job or searching for one, professional therapy or taking no actions. Those who left mostly reported no coping strategies at 38%, compared to 28% who used new jobs or the search for new work, and 22% reported friends, family or colleagues as support.

Among those bought out or laid off, social connections were the most frequently reported at 42%, while no action measured 28% and a new job or work search registered 17%.

Respondents were also asked how they were faring in new jobs or careers. Some returned to newspapers, while many others moved into other fields or careers. Positive, negative and neutral well-being in new jobs were reported at 52, 17 and 32%, respectively, for those who left on their own. Those forced out indicated their experiences in the same order at 48, 28 and 24%, respectively.

Former journalists widely reported, though, that their skills honed from years working in newspapers were largely transferrable to a variety of new jobs and that they were encouraged by that. About 14% of journalists surveyed returned to newspapers.
“This provided statistical and anecdotal evidence that the skills it takes to research, write, synthesize information, problem-solve and think critically are highly valued in other jobs,” Reinardy said. “Many found jobs using their skills they learned as journalists in new careers.”

Respondents reported a variety of emotions and experiences about their current well-being, with some noting they still missed the work, some feeling reduced stress about deadlines and being the next to be laid off, as well as persistent depression or the feeling of “dying but not being dead,” as one respondent said. Overall, 62% of those who left on their own reported positive well-being now, while 54% of those forced out signaled the same. Negative and neutral responses from the groups were at 7 and 10% and 31 and 35%, respectively.

The findings confirm that losing a job is stressful and the journalists who did so experienced negative effects on their identity, social contacts and self-worth, perhaps not surprisingly, Reinardy said. It also reinforced, however, that the way in which one leaves a job makes a significant difference in emotional and physical well-being. The findings likely indicate what journalists who lost jobs during the pandemic will experience, though early indications show the majority were laid off or had positions eliminated as opposed to leaving on their own.

“Losing your job can be traumatic, but choosing to do so makes a difference,” Reinardy said. “I don’t know what the experience will be for journalists who lost their jobs during the pandemic, but this suggests there will be similar ramifications. Although there are other opportunities now that weren’t there from 2008 to ’19, so I would like to think the trauma won’t be as great, but it does raise the question.”
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Contact: Lauren Cunningham, School of Business, 785-864-9540, [email protected], @KUbschool
New School of Business program aims to instill professional excellence among undergraduates
LAWRENCE — The University of Kansas School of Business has launched a new program aimed at developing professionalism among undergraduate business students.

The Professionalism Program includes a series of six 1-credit courses focused on fostering career skills, as well as a required internship and networking opportunities. The program also features excellence points (ePoints) for participation in a variety of outside-of-course experiential, development and leadership activities valued by future employers.

The program launched over the 2020-21 academic year with the rollout of the first courses and a successful soft launch of ePoint offerings last spring. The program’s development was informed by survey responses from alumni, employers, and peer and aspirant schools. All undergraduate students, beginning with last year’s freshmen, will be required to complete the program in order to graduate.

“While the School of Business has always prioritized professional preparation, this program provides all of our students professional development and career exploration opportunities from day one,” said Paige Fields, H.D. Price Professor and dean of the School of Business. “The program greatly expands the breadth of these opportunities with a goal of ensuring success in the job market.”

Examples of ePoint-eligible activities include Lean Six Sigma certification, Microsoft Excel certification, CFA or CFP certifications, study abroad participation, the school’s Certificate in Professional Selling or the Jack Lockton Certificate in Insurance and Risk Management, and others. Students track their ePoints using an app powered by software company Suitable and funded by Ernst & Young (EY). Points are placed in the following four categories, or “Flight Patterns”:

1. Core Skills Development and Certifications
2. Career Planning and Networking
3. Student Leadership and Engagement
4. Experiential Learning.

To learn more about the Professionalism Program, visit business.ku.edu/professionalism-program.

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Don’t miss new episodes of “When Experts Attack!,”
a KU News Service podcast hosted by Kansas Public Radio.

https://kansaspublicradio.org/when-experts-attack
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Contact: Nicole Perry, Center for Undergraduate Research, 785-864-3391, [email protected], @ugresearch
Thirteen KU students receive Undergraduate Research Awards for fall
LAWRENCE — This fall, 13 University of Kansas students will receive an Undergraduate Research Award (UGRA). UGRA recipients are awarded a $1,000 scholarship as they work on mentored research and creative projects.

Students apply for UGRAs by writing a four-page research proposal under the guidance of a mentor. Faculty reviewers evaluate the applications based on the merit of the applicant’s proposal and a recommendation from the mentor.

“These student projects explore innovative ideas in different disciplines across campus,” said Alison Olcott, director of the Center for Undergraduate Research and associate professor of geology. “With their mentors’ support, these students are learning to use the tools of their disciplines to make important contributions to their fields of study.”

The Center for Undergraduate Research is currently taking applications for the Spring 2022 UGRA competition. The deadline for student proposals will be Oct. 28. Online guidance and individual advising appointments are available to help students prepare strong applications. More information can be found here: http://ugresearch.ku.edu/student/fund/ugra.

Kansas students receiving awards for fall 2021 are listed below in alphabetical order along with year in school, hometown, project title, mentor and mentor’s department. The full list of recipients is available online.

1. Casey Carlile, a senior from Lawrence: “Merger Signatures of Cold Quasars in the Distant Universe,” mentored by Allison Kirkpatrick, assistant professor of physics & astronomy.
2. Amanda Hertel, a senior from Shawnee: “Tau Protein and Lipid Dysregulation: Potential Role in Alzheimer’s Disease Progression,” mentored by Prajna Dhar, professor of chemical & petroleum engineering.
3. Christopher Kywe, a senior from Leawood: “The Effect of mab-5 on Innate Immune Response Systems Within C. elegans,” mentored by Brian Ackley, associate professor of molecular biosciences.
4. Jackson Martin, a senior from Olathe: “A Case Study of Foreign Invested Enterprises in the U.S.-China Trade War,” mentored by Jack Zhang, assistant professor of political science.
5. Reece Mathews, a senior from Lawrence: “Open Polar Server Upgrades for Efficiency and FAIR Data Principles,” mentored by John Paden, associate scientist with the Center for Remote Sensing of Ice Sheets.
6. Carlos Schwindt, a junior from La Crosse: “Examining Mask Mycobiome Composition and Potential Dispersal,” mentored by Benjamin Sikes, associate professor of ecology & evolutionary biology and associate scientist with the Kansas Biological Survey.

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KU News Service
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Erinn Barcomb-Peterson, director of news and media relations, [email protected]

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