KU News: KU nominates 3 juniors for Udall Undergraduate Scholarships

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KU nominates 3 juniors for Udall Undergraduate Scholarships
LAWRENCE — Three students at the University of Kansas are nominees for prestigious Udall Undergraduate Scholarships, which recognize students who demonstrate leadership, public service and commitment in the fields of tribal public policy, Native health care or the environment. The nominees are Nidia Lazos, of Wichita; Grant Misse, of Gardner; and Rylie Parr, of Smithville, Missouri.

Second KU-led Global Climate Teach-in offers local perspectives to worldwide event
LAWRENCE — University of Kansas scholars and students as well as activists and area professionals will share their research and advocacy as part of a global effort to come together around solutions and education for the climate crisis. The second annual Global Climate Teach-in will take place March 29 at Maceli’s Banquet Hall.

KU Law excels during another successful moot court season
LAWRENCE – The University of Kansas School of Law’s moot court program, ranked 14th in the nation, is wrapping up the 2022-23 season with several strong showings in competitions across the country. The season includes a final four finish in the University of Houston’s national moot court competition and first place at the National Native American Law Students Association Moot Court Competition.

Full stories below.

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Contact: Erin Wolfram, Academic Success, 785-864-2308, [email protected]
KU nominates 3 juniors for Udall Undergraduate Scholarships
LAWRENCE — Three students at the University of Kansas are nominees for Udall Undergraduate Scholarships, which recognize students who demonstrate leadership, public service and commitment in the fields of tribal public policy, Native health care or the environment.
KU’s nominees:
1. Nidia Lazos, a junior in environmental studies minoring in geology and peace & conflict studies
2. Grant Misse, a junior in environmental studies and music composition minoring in French
3. Rylie Parr, a junior in chemical engineering minoring in biomedical engineering
The Udall Undergraduate Scholarship is a federal scholarship that honors the legacies of Morris Udall and Stewart Udall, two former Arizona lawmakers whose careers influenced American Indian self-governance, health care and the stewardship of public lands and natural resources.
The Udall Foundation administers the program. This year, the foundation will award 60 students with scholarships of up to $7,000 each. Selected scholars will also receive access to the Udall Alumni Network and attend a four-day scholar orientation in Tucson, Arizona. Students must be nominated by their university to apply, and universities are limited in the total number of nominations they can make.  At KU, the nomination process is coordinated by the Office of Fellowships within Academic Success. Students interested in applying next year should email [email protected].
Biographical details of the candidates follow.
Nidia Lazos, from Wichita, is a graduate of Wichita North High School and the daughter of Veronica Rubio and Horacio Lazos. She is a member of the University Honors Program and is majoring in environmental studies and minoring in geology and peace & conflict studies. In her future career, Lazos plans to address water quality issues in low-income communities. She is a student ambassador for the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences and serves as a coordinator for Earth, a program within the Center for Community Outreach, where she creates and promotes events on campus regarding sustainability and the environment. Through this position, she also supervises and helps develop the on-campus community garden and corresponding KU Student Gardeners Program. In summer 2022, Lazos participated in LAKES Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) in Menomonie, Wisconsin, where she conducted research on the psychological aspects of environmental issues surrounding lake pollution in the Red Cedar Watershed, particularly the influences on farmers’ perceptions of specific management practices.

Grant Misse, from Gardner, is a graduate of Gardner-Edgerton High School and the son of Brett and Kourtney Misse. He is a member of the University Honors Program and is a double major in environmental studies and music composition with a minor in French. He plans to start a nonprofit in eastern Kansas to make a global impact through prairie restoration, composting and scalable regenerative farming techniques. As a member of the Sunrise Movement KU leadership team and as the 2040 Vision committee chair, Misse focuses on environmental initiatives to stop climate change and promote sustainability and environmental justice. He also serves as a program coordinator for the Music Mentors Program in the Center for Community Outreach and is continually inspired by the nonprofit work he takes part in through the organization. He also is the vice president of the New Music Guild and is a section leader in the KU Glee Club.

Rylie Parr, from Smithville, Missouri, is a graduate of Smithville High School and the daughter of Stephanie Parr and Casey Parr. Rylie is majoring in chemical engineering and minoring in biomedical engineering. She plans to pursue a career that allows her to utilize chemical engineering concepts to prioritize sustainability. In summer 2022, Parr participated in an REU at the University of Texas-Austin, where she measured the rate of water permeability of droplet interface bilayer systems. She is an active member of the KU Improv Club “Safety Goggles On,” Society of Women Engineers and Society for Biomaterials. Parr also currently serves as one of the food board managers for the KU Student Housing Association and is a IHAWKe ambassador where she helps increase the number of diverse engineers through outreach and recruitment activities. In summer 2023, she will be interning at Hostess Brands to reduce water and energy usage across multiple locations.

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Contact: Emily Ryan, The Commons, 785-864-6293, [email protected], @TheCommonsKU
Second KU-led Global Climate Teach-in offers local perspectives to worldwide event
LAWRENCE — University of Kansas scholars and students as well as activists and area professionals will share their research and advocacy as part of a global effort to come together around solutions and education for the climate crisis. The second annual Global Climate Teach-in will take place March 29 at Maceli’s Banquet Hall, sponsored by the KU Environmental Studies Program, The Commons, KU Libraries, Institute for Policy & Social Research, Center for Compassionate & Sustainable Communities, the Office of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging and the Department of Geography & Atmospheric Science.
KU is one of more than 200 institutions around the world participating in the teach-in, organized by Bard College.
“Katharine Hayhoe tells us the most important thing we can do to fight climate change is to talk about it,” said Ward Lyles, associate professor of public affairs & administration. “Talking means learning. And learning brings power. Learning together about climate change in Douglas County and Kansas will empower us.”
The structure will follow the format set by the global movement. Broken into hourlong segments, each component series of the event will include short presentations, followed by a larger discussion among panelists and audience members. Each hour is organized around a central theme:
1. 5:30-6:30 p.m.: Adaptation & Mitigation
2. 6:30-7:30 p.m.: Culture & Health
3. 7:30-8:30 p.m.: Communication & Policy.
In addition, a Theatre 560 class will perform an original play titled “Harsh Weather.”
“Since theatre has a rich history of inspiring action and developing empathy, the students hope to bring these tools to bear through their improvisation, acting, playwriting and design,” said Laura Kirk, associate teaching professor in theatre & dance.
Another area in which this event aims to create long-term impact is by building regional connections.
“As with everything we do, The Commons is deeply invested in bringing people together around shared challenges toward more informed understanding,” said Emily Ryan, director of The Commons. “That this event builds a space for community and campus to come together with diverse sets of knowledge is critical to awareness of this age-defining crisis.”
To facilitate engagement beyond campuses and across domains, the event is free and open to the public. It will take place from 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., and it will be livestreamed. Snacks and beverages will be provided.
Organizations represented by presenters at this event include KU, Douglas County, Clean Air Now, Friends of the Kansas River and the Sunrise Movement.
A full list of panelists is available in the online version of this press release.
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Contact: Emma Herrman, School of Law, [email protected], @kulawschool
KU Law excels during another successful moot court season
LAWRENCE – The 2022-2023 moot court season has been another successful one for the University of Kansas School of Law, with many teams finishing strongly in a variety of competitions. The teams, coached by KU Law faculty and alumni, travel across the country to compete.
Moot court madness
KU Law started the new year strong Jan. 28-29 at the Hunton Andrews Kurth Moot Court National Championship, hosted at the University of Houston. The competition is invitation-only for the 16 highest-performing moot court programs in the country. KU Law was invited because of the Moot Court Council’s successes last academic year, which resulted in a No. 14 program ranking.
After six rounds, Emily Depew and Jessica Kinnamon, both third-year law students, outperformed that rank by progressing to the Final Four.
“This is the moot court equivalent of March Madness,” said Pamela Keller, clinical professor of law and moot court director. “Jessica and Emily were in a national championship tournament with only the best teams in the country, and they made it to the Final Four. If we had an Allen Fieldhouse for moot court, they would have a banner in the rafters.”
Both students received a scholarship award for their semifinal finish, and Depew received the award for Third Best Oral Advocate in the competition.
Depew and Kinnamon were amazing representatives for the Shook, Hardy & Bacon Center for Excellence in Advocacy, Keller said. “Jayhawk lawyers everywhere would be proud of their performance.”

Three-peat champions
For the third consecutive year, a KU Law team won first place at the National Native American Law Students Association (NNALSA) Moot Court Competition, which took place Feb. 25-26 at the University of Oklahoma School of Law.
KU Law was represented by two teams this year: Jade Kearney, second-year law student, and Alex Valin, third-year law student; and Emily Depew, third-year law student and seasoned NNALSA moot court veteran, and Chris Birzer, second-year law student. Both teams advanced to the Elite Eight, with Depew and Birzer pulling out ahead to take home the trophy.
“Emily Depew completed what I believe to be a first,” said Kevin Barnett, third-year law student and secretary of NNALSA. “She has won the competition all three years of her law school career. I can’t speak highly enough of Emily’s talents as an oralist in this competition; now, she is the undisputed three-peat champion of the NNALSA Moot Court Competition.”
Shawn Watts, lecturer in law, said he credited not only the hard work of the students but also the alumni who coached them.
“It is impossible to overstate what incredible alumni coaches we have in Nancy Musick and Chris Carey,” Watts said. “They drive the team’s preparation and success. And, of course, our students show year after year that they are top-notch appellate advocates in federal Indian law.”
“KU Law’s success in winning the last three NNALSA moot court national championships comes down to three factors: faculty and alumni consistently putting in the time judging practice rounds, dedicated students spending countless hours perfecting arguments and an exceptional moot court program leader in Professor Keller,” Depew said. “I was fortunate to have three outstanding partners each of the last three years in Zach Kelsay, Doug Bartel and Chris Birzer as well as the support of Professor Watts.”
Professionalism and collegiality
Continuing the trend of success, Hailey Reed and Karlie Bischoff, second-year law students, competed in the Wagner National Labor & Employment Law Moot Court Competition at New York Law School in early March. They finished the octofinals as the top seed and kept that seed all the way to the final round.
“We were proud to represent KU Law all the way to the final round of the Wagner moot court competition, especially given how prepared and talented our fellow competitors were,” Reed and Bischoff said in a joint statement. “This experience has only increased our appreciation and respect for our coaches, professors and classmates who invested so much time and energy into preparing us for the competition. We are excited to continue representing KU in future competitions during our 3L year.”
Joyce Rosenberg, clinical professor of law and coach for Reed and Bischoff, said the final round was one of the best she had ever heard and that both KU and the Loyola-Chicago team they competed against gave the judges a difficult decision in the end.
“As a coach, I am tremendously impressed with Hailey and Karlie’s professionalism, diligence and teamwork,” Rosenberg said. “They put in hours upon hours of work on their brief and on practice rounds. And I am proud that, in true Jayhawk spirit, many faculty and alumni volunteered to work with them, judge practices and give detailed feedback.”
Bringing home the cup
Two additional KU competitors, Kat Girod and Helen Phillips, third-year law students, brought home the Shapero Cup by winning the Regional Bankruptcy Moot Court Competition in Detroit. They then continued to the national rounds in New York City in the 31st Annual Duberstein Bankruptcy Moot Court Competition, where they advanced to the Elite Eight.
“Kat and Helen work hard and produce consistently excellent results,” said Stephen Ware, Frank Edwards Tyler Distinguished Professor of Law. “Most lawyers never get a chance to argue before a U.S. Court of Appeals judge, but Kat and Helen have now already done so with top-notch results.”
Girod also took home the award for Best Oral Advocate in the Shapero competition. Sixth Circuit Judge Raymond Kethledge noted Girod’s “palpable mastery of the material” and “exemplary” performance. Girod credited Ware for supporting her and Phillips in their success.
“Professor Ware did a fabulous job helping us prepare,” Girod said. “He helps us schedule practice rounds with bankruptcy practitioners, which is an invaluable component of our preparation.”
In a moot court competition, individuals write an appellate brief and give a mock argument before a panel of judges acting as the U.S. Supreme Court. KU Law’s moot court program is currently ranked 14th in the nation based on 2022 rankings from the University of Houston Law Center and has placed in the top 30 nationally for the past six years. Additional highlights from the 2022-2023 moot court competition season include:

1. Rachel Henderson, second-year law student; Hayley Koontz, second-year law student; and Caitlin McPartland, third-year law student, participated in the National Environmental Law Moot Court Competition on Feb. 22-25. A KU Law advocate was recognized as best oralist in each of the three rounds of competition: Henderson in one and McPartland in two.
2. Emma Bishop, second-year law student; Aylin Jamison, second-year law student; Joan Lee, third-year law student; Justin Shock, second-year law student; and Brien Stonebreaker, third-year law student, participated in the Jessup International Law Moot Court on Feb. 25-26.

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

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