KU News: KU, K-State faculty receive Higuchi-KU Endowment Research Achievement Awards

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KU, K-State faculty receive Higuchi-KU Endowment Research Achievement Awards
LAWRENCE — Four faculty members at two Kansas universities were named recipients of the Higuchi-KU Endowment Research Achievement Awards, the state higher education system’s most prestigious recognition for scholarly excellence. The annual awards are given in four categories of scholarly and creative achievement. This year’s honorees are Uwe Thumm and Timothy Musch at Kansas State University and Donna Ginther and Mark Shiflett at the University of Kansas.

KU CREES, Lawrence Public Library to host Perspectives on Ukraine series
LAWRENCE — Nearly a year since the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine, a new series will explore the war and its effects on Ukraine and its people as well as inform community members on Ukrainian culture and history. Perspectives on Ukraine, a partnership between the University of Kansas Center for Russian, East European & Eurasian Studies (CREES) and Lawrence Public Library, begins at 6 p.m. Feb. 13 with “Human Trafficking Dynamics and the War in Ukraine.”

11 KU students, alumni named semifinalists for Fulbright Awards
LAWRENCE – Eleven University of Kansas students and alumni have advanced to the semifinalist round for Fulbright U.S. Student Awards, which will provide funding to study, conduct research or teach English abroad for the 2023-2024 academic year. The semifinalists include Kansans from Lawrence, Olathe, Pittsburg, Topeka and Wichita. Finalists will be announced later this spring.

Full stories below.

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Contact: Vince Munoz, Office of Research, 785-864-2254, [email protected], @ResearchAtKU
KU, K-State faculty receive Higuchi-KU Endowment Research Achievement Awards

LAWRENCE — Four faculty members at two Kansas universities were named recipients of the Higuchi-KU Endowment Research Achievement Awards, the state higher education system’s most prestigious recognition for scholarly excellence.

The annual awards are given in four categories of scholarly and creative achievement. This year’s honorees:

1. Uwe Thumm, University Distinguished Professor of Physics, Kansas State University, recipient of the Olin Petefish Award in Basic Sciences
2. Donna Ginther, Roy A. Roberts and Regents Distinguished Professor of Economics, KU, and director, Institute for Policy & Social Research, recipient of the Balfour Jeffrey Award in Humanities & Social Sciences
3. Mark Shiflett, Foundation Distinguished Professor of Chemical & Petroleum Engineering, KU, and director, Institute for Sustainable Engineering, recipient of the Irvin Youngberg Award in Applied Sciences
4. Timothy Musch, University Distinguished Professor of Kinesiology (College of Health and Human Sciences) and Physiology (College of Veterinary Medicine), Kansas State University, and director, Cardiorespiratory Exercise Lab, recipient of the Dolph Simons Award in Biomedical Sciences.

The four will be recognized in April along with recipients of other major KU research awards.

This is the 41st annual presentation of the Higuchi awards, established in 1981 by Takeru Higuchi, a distinguished professor at the University of Kansas from 1967 to 1983, his wife Aya, and the KU Endowment Association. The awards recognize exceptional long-term research accomplishments by faculty at Kansas Board of Regents universities. Each honoree receives $10,000 for their ongoing research.

The awards are named for former leaders of KU Endowment who helped recruit Higuchi to KU.

Olin Petefish Award in Basic Sciences
Uwe Thumm is a University Distinguished Professor of Physics at Kansas State University. He is internationally known for his scholarship in atomic, molecular, optical and surface physics.

His work includes understanding the interaction between light and matter in time and space. This basic research has implications for numerous technological fields, such as solar energy, and novel electro-optical detectors and computers.

Individually and with colleagues at the J.R. Macdonald Laboratory at K-State, Thumm has earned more than $50 million in research funding. He received the Senior Research Award of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, widely considered the highest German science award for researchers outside the country.

Thumm earned a doctorate in physics from the University of Freiburg.

Balfour Jeffrey Award in Humanities & Social Sciences
Donna Ginther is the Roy A. Roberts and Regents Distinguished Professor of Economics and director of KU’s Institute for Policy & Social Research. Her work broadly covers science policy, labor economics and economic demography.

She is best known for studying factors that promote or inhibit diversity, equity and inclusion in the sciences and academia. In 2011 and 2018, Ginther published papers showing racial disparities in funding from the National Institutes of Health, which later became known as the “Ginther gap.” This led to the creation of a task force and mentoring program at the agency to address these disparities.

She has served as the principal investigator or co-investigator on projects totaling more than $7 million.

Ginther earned a doctorate in economics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Irvin Youngberg Award in Applied Sciences
Mark Shiflett is a Foundation Distinguished Professor of Chemical & Petroleum Engineering and director of the Institute for Sustainable Engineering at KU. His research involves developing environmentally safe chemical processes and products that are sustainable.

Currently, Shiflett is working on separation methods for recycling refrigerants with high global warming potential. Preventing the release of these refrigerants into the atmosphere through recycling has the potential to eliminate 175 million metric tons of carbon dioxide, which is equivalent to the annual emissions of 50 million cars. His research group is also developing methods for removal of perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) from water, processes for recycling critical metals used in lithium-ion batteries and techniques for storing vaccines without the need for refrigeration.

He has received more than $10 million in external funding in the past six years while at KU.

Shiflett earned a doctorate in chemical engineering from the University of Delaware.

Dolph Simons Award in Biomedical Sciences
Timothy Musch is a University Distinguished Professor and holds a joint appointment in the Department of Anatomy & Physiology in the College of Veterinary Medicine and the Department of Kinesiology in the College of Health & Human Sciences at Kansas State University. He studies exercise intolerance in patients with heart failure.

His research established how heart failure redistributes blood flow among muscles during exercise and the role of nitric oxide in post-heart failure exercise. This work has helped the NIH define a national strategy for effective exercise treatment for heart failure patients.

He has received more than $7 million in research funding as both principal investigator and co-investigator.

Musch earned a doctorate in exercise physiology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in cardiovascular physiology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.

The award funds are managed by KU Endowment, the independent, nonprofit organization serving as the official fundraising and fund-management organization for KU. Founded in 1891, KU Endowment was the first foundation of its kind at a U.S. public university.

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Contact: Megan Luttrell, KU Center for Russian, East European & Eurasian Studies, [email protected], @KUCREES
KU CREES, Lawrence Public Library to host Perspectives on Ukraine series
LAWRENCE — Nearly a year since the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine, a new series will explore the war and its effects on Ukraine and its people as well as inform community members on Ukrainian culture and history. Perspectives on Ukraine, a partnership between the University of Kansas Center for Russian, East European & Eurasian Studies (CREES) and Lawrence Public Library, begins in February.
“The war has placed Ukraine at the center of the public’s attention like never before, and KU stands out nationally for its expertise on the country’s rich and diverse history, society and culture,” said Erik Scott, CREES director and associate professor of history.
Terese Winters, information services librarian at Lawrence Public Library, said that the library is honored to host this series in partnership with CREES.
“Ukraine serves as a global example of courage in defending democracy at great cost as the country heads into a second year of war,” Winters said. “We are fortunate for the opportunity to come together as a community and learn from our expert speakers.”
The first event in the series will take place at 6 p.m. Feb. 13 in the Lawrence Public Library Auditorium. KU alumna Laura Dean, associate professor of political science and director of the Human Trafficking Research Lab at Millikin University, will give a talk titled “Human Trafficking Dynamics and the War in Ukraine.” The event will include an activity where attendees can send well wishes and cards to survivors of human trafficking and sexual violence in Ukraine.
Dean’s talk will address how Russia’s war has exacerbated human trafficking in Ukraine, including child begging, forced labor and sex trafficking. She will discuss how wartime conditions have created vulnerabilities for women and children using data from interviews with anti-trafficking advocates and participant observation at centers for displaced persons in Ukraine and refugee reception centers in Europe.
Dean is the author of “Diffusing Human Trafficking Policy in Eurasia,” published by Policy Press in 2020. She graduated from KU in 2014 with a doctorate in political science. She also earned a graduate certificate in women, gender & sexuality studies and a master’s degree in political science from KU.
The second series event will take place at 6 p.m. March 7 in the Lawrence Public Library Auditorium. Oleksandra Wallo, an associate professor in the Department of Slavic, German & Eurasian Studies who is from Lviv, Ukraine, will give a talk titled “How Russia’s War is Changing Ukraine.”
In a talk a few days following the Feb. 24, 2022, invasion, Wallo spoke of the incredible Ukrainian spirit. She said, “The factor that no one took into account, not Putin, not the West, not even some Ukrainians, is that it’s not only weapons and numbers that matter, it’s also the reasons why people are fighting.”
Wallo’s talk will address the ways in which Ukrainian society, culture and daily life have been transformed by the war. It will touch on demographic, economic and political changes and cover in greater depth the cultural response to the war.
Wallo’s research focuses both on teaching Ukrainian as a foreign language and on contemporary Ukrainian literature and culture. Her book “Women Writers and the National Imaginary: From the Collapse of the USSR to the Euromaidan,” was published in 2020 by the University of Toronto Press and received Honorable Mention for the 2021 Omeljan Pritsak Book Prize in Ukrainian Studies. Wallo is also the author of an open-education online resource on basic Ukrainian grammar, Dobra Forma published by the Open Language Resource Center at KU.
Related to the series, the Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies (REES) Reframed Lecture Series will welcome Oksana Kis from the Institute of Ethnology, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine. Kis will give a talk at 7 p.m. March 2 in Forum C of the Burge Union titled “Ukrainian Women at War: Historical Legacies and Present-Day Challenges.”
Her talk will explore the phenomenon of women’s large-scale participation in the Ukrainian army during the current Russian war on Ukraine. It contextualizes Ukrainian women’s military participation using the background of the historical legacy of Ukrainian women’s military service during the two world wars as well as in the armed anti-Soviet nationalist resistance in 1940-50s. The events of the Euro-Maidan and subsequent Russia’s aggression on Donbas will be discussed as turning points in the changing public perception of women-soldiers toward further normalization of militant femininity in public discourse.
Kis is a feminist historian and anthropologist as well as head of the Department of Social Anthropology at the Institute of Ethnology, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine. She has served as a president of the Ukrainian Association for Research in Women’s History since 2010, and she is also a co-founder and a vice president of the Ukrainian Oral History Association.
The final event in the Perspectives on Ukraine Series will take place from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. April 7 in the Lawrence Public Library Auditorium. Megan Luttrell, outreach coordinator for the KU CREES, will lead a workshop on Ukrainian pysanky (decorated eggs). She will teach participants to make their own pysanka as well as give them an introduction to the ancient art’s history and symbolism. The workshop is limited to 20 participants, and sign-up is available on the library’s website.
Luttrell received her doctorate from KU in the Slavic languages & literatures department in 2018. She has taught Russian language and literature at KU, Indiana University and Colby College. As the CREES outreach coordinator, Luttrell manages numerous outreach programs to the broader community. She organizes art and dance workshops and the CREES Spring Festival. She teaches Russian language to students at area middle schools, participates in multicultural story time at both the Lawrence and Baldwin libraries, and leads a foreign language program at the Douglas County Juvenile Detention Center.
The pysanka is a symbol of life, spring and renewal. It has also been a part of Ukrainian culture since pre-Christian times. Closing the event series with a pysanky workshop is intended foster a sense of hope and inspire members of the community to appreciate and learn more about Ukraine and its culture.
KU CREES has been a national leader for the study of the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe since 1959 and is the only federally designated resource center on this crucial world area in the Great Plains. CREES, in collaboration with the Department of Slavic, German & Eurasian Studies, oversees undergraduate and graduate degree programs. The center is an interdisciplinary hub that helps train K-12 teachers and post-secondary educators and shares its expertise with partners in business, media, the military and government.

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Contact: Christine Metz Howard, International Affairs, [email protected], @KUintlaffairs
11 KU students, alumni named semifinalists for Fulbright Awards
LAWRENCE – Eleven University of Kansas students and alumni have advanced to the semifinalist round for Fulbright U.S. Student Awards, which will provide funding to study, conduct research or teach English abroad for the 2023-2024 academic year.
The year’s Fulbright semifinalists represent diverse academic fields across campus, coming from the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences and the schools of Business, Education & Human Sciences and Music. The semifinalists’ locations of proposed study span four continents and nine countries.
The Fulbright program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to increase mutual understanding between Americans and people of other countries. The U.S. Student Fulbright program operates in more than 160 countries worldwide.
Recipients of Fulbright grants are selected based on academic or professional achievement as well as their record of service and demonstrated leadership in their respective fields. Fulbright grants provide funding for round-trip travel, maintenance for one academic year, health and accident insurance and, where relevant, tuition.
Finalists and alternates will be announced later this spring.
The 2023-2024 Fulbright semifinalists:
1. Yasmine Adrian has proposed to travel to Germany to study and conduct research in international relations. From Arlington, Virginia, she graduated in 2022 with bachelor’s degrees in global & international studies and German studies. Her parents are Steve and Allyson Adrian.
2. Kate Crnkovich has applied to be an English Teaching Assistant in Armenia. From Watertown, Wisconsin, Crnkovich will graduate in May with a master’s degree in Slavic languages & literatures, which she earned her bachelor’s degree in two years ago. Her parents are Wes and Julie Crnkovich.
3. Quinton Dotzert has proposed to travel to South Korea to study and conduct research in Korean studies. From Collinsville, Illinois, Dotzert will graduate in May with bachelor’s degrees in the history of art and in East Asian languages & cultures with a double concentration in Chinese and Korean. He also has a minor in political science. Their parent is Bobbie Brown.
4. Virginia Hannahan has proposed to travel to United Kingdom to study and conduct research in philosophy at the University of St Andrews. From Fairhope, Alabama, Hannahan will graduate in May with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and a certificate in logic and formal reasoning. Her parents are Tommy and Bridget Hannahan.
5. Meredith Loehr has applied to be an English Teaching Assistant in Germany. From Topeka, Loehr will graduate this May with bachelor’s degrees in global & international studies and German. Her parents are Wendy Bair-Loehr and Robert Loehr.
6. Nina Newman has proposed to travel to Sweden to study and conduct research in public health. From Wichita, Newman will graduate in May with a bachelor’s degree in human biology and a minor in psychology. Her parents are Hanh Newman and James Newman.
7. Maya McDaniel has applied to be an English Teaching Assistant in Spain. From Denver, McDaniel will graduate in May with a bachelor’s degree in secondary history and government education. Her parents are Derren and Carol McDaniel.
8. Sydney Pritchard has applied to be an English Teaching Assistant in India. From Lawrence, Pritchard will graduate in May with a bachelor’s degree in linguistics. Her parents are Michael and Heidi Pritchard.
9. Melissa Terrall has proposed to travel to Mexico to study and conduct research in piano. From Portland, Oregon, Terrall graduated in 2022 with a master’s degree in piano performance. Her parents are Jeffrey and Valerie Terrall.
10. Aamer Uddin has proposed to travel to the United Kingdom to study and conduct research in entrepreneurship at University College London. Born in Detroit and raised in Olathe, Uddin earned a bachelor’s degree in 2021 in management & leadership and another bachelor’s degree in 2022 in political science. His parents are Imtiaz and Tahseen Uddin.
11. Chloe VanBecelaere has applied to be an English Teaching Assistant in Colombia. From Pittsburg, VanBecelaere graduated in 2022 with bachelor’s degrees in global & international studies and Spanish. Her parent is Diane VanBecelaere.

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