KU News: University to welcome back former chancellor for building dedication ceremony Oct. 26

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University to welcome back former Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little for building dedication ceremony Oct. 26
LAWRENCE — The University of Kansas will host a building dedication ceremony for Gray-Little Hall – named after former Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little – at a celebration event at 4:30 p.m. Oct. 26 in the building’s main auditorium. The ceremony will be hosted by Chancellor Douglas A. Girod, who will introduce Gray-Little for remarks and formally dedicate the building in her honor. RSVPs are not required but are appreciated for planning purposes.

KU-led national study asks people with disabilities to document their experiences
LAWRENCE — Beginning Oct. 2, people with disabilities are invited to participate in a national study based at the University of Kansas that aims to document their experiences with a variety of issues, including access to health care, housing, long COVID, transportation, employment and connection to their community. The National Survey on Health and Disability has gathered detailed, nationwide information on U.S. adults with disabilities and their experiences with health insurance and health care services since 2018. Individuals can specify how they would like to participate in the survey, whether online or by phone, and whether they would like to receive a link via email or text.

Kansas Population Center to host virtual seminar series
LAWRENCE — The Kansas Population Center at the University of Kansas will host a seminar series, “Life, Death, and Everything in the Middle,” to showcase information on demography specific to the Midwest, a region with its own unique population trends. The first event in the series, scheduled for 1 p.m. Oct. 16, will feature J. David Brown, principal economist at the U.S. Census Bureau.

Math department announces Undergraduate Research Award winners
LAWRENCE – The Department of Mathematics at the University of Kansas has awarded undergraduate research scholarships of $1,000 each to three KU students to support their fall 2023 research projects. Recipients include Aidan Bowen, senior in mathematics and computer science from Wichita (67226).

Full stories below.

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Contact: Joe Monaco, Office of Public Affairs, 785-864-7100, [email protected], @UnivOfKansas
University to welcome back former Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little for building dedication ceremony Oct. 26
LAWRENCE — The University of Kansas will formally dedicate its premier Lawrence research facility in honor of the chancellor who made it a reality.
KU will host a building dedication ceremony for Gray-Little Hall – named after former Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little – at a celebration event at 4:30 p.m. Oct. 26 in the building’s main auditorium.
The ceremony will be hosted by Chancellor Douglas A. Girod, who will introduce Gray-Little for remarks and formally dedicate the building in her honor.
“Chancellor Gray-Little guided KU to unprecedented success, elevated the university’s stature and transformed the way KU serves the state,” Girod said of his predecessor. “Among her many accomplishments was the development of Gray-Little Hall, which provided KU with new research space at a crucial moment in the university’s history. Beyond her accomplishments, Chancellor Gray-Little led with a special grace that made her a role model for Jayhawks everywhere. We are thrilled to welcome her back for this ceremony, and we look forward to the opportunity to reflect on her leadership.”
RSVPs are not required but are appreciated for planning purposes. If you plan to attend, please submit your RSVP here.
Today’s announcement is not the first time KU has announced a dedication ceremony for the building. In February 2020, KU announced a dedication event would happen in April of that year. But less than three weeks after the announcement, states began implementing shutdowns due to COVID-19. And just like that, the dedication ceremony had the unfortunate distinction of becoming the first major KU ceremony canceled due to the pandemic.

“I’m excited for the chance to celebrate this remarkable science building,” Gray-Little said. “For our students, this building has provided new ways to interact with instructors and engage in a modern curriculum. For our researchers, the building has enabled them to do the kind of research that improves lives, grows the economy and advances knowledge. I am honored to have been part of the development of this building, and I look forward to the great work that will happen within its walls for years to come.”
The building – originally called the Integrated Science Building – opened in 2018 and comprises 280,000 square feet of space for teaching, learning and research in chemistry, medicinal chemistry, physics, molecular biosciences and related fields.
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Contact: Jen Humphrey, Life Span Institute, 785-864-6621, [email protected], @kulifespan
KU-led national study asks people with disabilities to document their experiences
LAWRENCE — Beginning Oct. 2, people with disabilities are invited to participate in a national study based at the University of Kansas that aims to document their experiences with a variety of issues, including access to health care, housing, long COVID, transportation, employment and connection to their community.
The National Survey on Health and Disability (NSHD) has gathered detailed, nationwide information on U.S. adults with disabilities and their experiences with health insurance and health care services since 2018. It is funded by the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research and directed by Jean Hall, who leads the KU Institute for Health and Disability Policy Studies (IHDPS) at the KU Life Span Institute.
“This project gives voice to the concerns of people with disabilities,” Hall said. “This year, we hope the information people provide will tell us whether access to health care has gotten worse for any subgroups of people with disabilities, whether those are people who are LGBTQ+, or people of color, or people of a certain age, or people who live in a certain geographic area. The survey will help us identify if that’s happening.”
The NSHD continues to gather information this year about people’s experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic, including long COVID and its effects on their quality of life, health care access and employment.
Individuals can specify how they would like to participate in the survey, whether online or by phone, and whether they would like to receive a link via email or text.
“KU researchers share de-identified NSHD data and findings with other researchers and policymakers to inform and guide programs and services,” said Noelle Kurth, co-investigator for the project. “The survey reinforces the philosophy of ‘nothing about us without us’ when it comes to making decisions that will affect the lives of people with disabilities.”
For example, researchers have used survey results to determine that questions used in federal surveys to identify people with disabilities miss up to 20% of this population, especially those with mental illnesses. As a result, people with disabilities are likely undercounted and their needs underestimated.

“That, in turn, can affect the funds invested in serving the population,” Kurth said.
Using data from the NSHD, researchers have previously documented that people with a variety of disabilities report being denied care outright by physicians and other medical providers. The NSHD has shown that people with disabilities who are also LGBTQ+ experience worse health and poorer access to health care than straight, cisgender people with disabilities.
The survey also has documented that people who acquire disabilities later in life tend to have poorer health and greater health care expenditures than people who become disabled earlier in life.
“To understand the needs of underrepresented communities, we need data,” Hall said. “We want to hear directly from individuals with disabilities and quantify what exactly is happening and what needs to change to improve their quality of life.”
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Contact: Carrie Caine, Institute for Policy & Social Research, 785-864-9102, [email protected]
Kansas Population Center to host virtual seminar series
LAWRENCE — The Kansas Population Center at the University of Kansas announced that it will host a virtual seminar series, “Life, Death, and Everything in the Middle.” The series will showcase information on demography specific to the Midwest, a region with its own unique population trends.
“We are excited to bring this vibrant, innovative virtual seminar to the KU community. The Kansas Population Center focuses on encouraging and advancing cutting-edge population research on critical human experiences like life, death, health and well-being in the middle of the country,” said KPC co-director Misty Heggeness, research scientist at the Institute for Policy & Social Research and associate professor of public affairs & administration.
The first event in the series, scheduled for 1 p.m. Oct. 16, will feature J. David Brown, principal economist at the U.S. Census Bureau. Brown will present work compiling a purely administrative record census on April 1, 2020, and comparing it to the 2020 census. His research uses sources like Social Security Administration records to arrive at their count of the U.S. population.
Attendees can register to attend this free virtual seminar.
The seminar series will meet most Mondays from 1-2 p.m. Upcoming sessions:
1. On Dec. 4, Nancy Folbre, professor emerita of economics and director of the Program on Gender and Care Work, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, will present “Parental Expenditures of Time and Money on Children in the U.S.” Register to attend.
2. Spring 2024 presentations will include:
1. Martha Bailey, professor of economics, University of California, Los Angeles, and California Center for Population Research, NBER research associate
2. Chloe East, associate professor of economics, University of Colorado Denver
3. Anusha Nash, senior economist, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
The Kansas Population Center is a newly established institutional member of the Association of Population Centers center at KU. The focus of the center is on population dynamics in Kansas and the broader Midwest, exploring both individual and community patterns from cradle to grave. KPC is especially interested in population trends related to aging, gender, economic development, and health and well-being, with a focus on rural communities. KPC members use big data to understand how systems and organizations both help and hinder the health and economic well-being of rural (and rural adjacent) communities in the Midwest. KPC aims to foster and support widely defined population research for local and regional public policy decision-makers and to provide training opportunities for students.

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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: Gloria Prothe, Department of Mathematics, [email protected]
Math department announces Undergraduate Research Award winners
LAWRENCE – The Department of Mathematics at the University of Kansas has awarded undergraduate research scholarships to three KU students to support their fall 2023 research projects.
Math Undergraduate Research Awards (MathUGRAs) are $1,000 scholarships provided to undergraduate math majors pursuing original research or creative projects under the general guidance of a KU math faculty member. The awards are funded by the department’s endowment. MathUGRAs are awarded to students conducting semester-long independent projects culminating in an oral presentation or written work, demonstrating the student’s own development of a topic in mathematics and its applications. Recipients of the award were selected on the merit of the applicant’s proposal, the applicant’s academic record and the recommendation from a faculty member who is familiar with the applicant and project.
Fall 2023 recipients and their projects:
1. Aidan Bowen, senior in mathematics and computer science from Wichita: “Exploration and Analysis of Options Pricing Models Using Monte Carlo Simulations,” a research project to explore and analyze a few of the options pricing models and validate or compare them using Monte Carlo simulations to understand the difference between theory and space. Research mentor: Weizhang Huang, professor of mathematics.
2. Haley Cabrera, junior in mathematics from Portland, Oregon: “Mathematical Modeling and Climate Change: A Statistical Analysis on the Effects of Global Warming on Prairie Ecosystems in Kansas.” This is a joint project with the Kansas Biological Survey. This project will investigate the effects of worsening climate on grassland ecology, restoration and plant-microbe interactions within prairie ecosystems in Kansas. Once the relevant data is gathered, it will need to be imported and processed in R and apply techniques from linear regression. Research mentor: Jeffrey Oregero, visiting assistant professor of mathematics, and Vadim Karatayev, postdoctoral researcher in ecology & evolutionary biology.
3. Viet Le, senior in mathematics and computer science from Binh Dinh, Vietnam: “Dependent Sampling Forest,” which introduces a novel class of ensemble learners. DSF employs a dependent sampling procedure to construct the individual trees within the ensemble to alleviate the correlation among trees, thus potentially reducing the generalized error; research mentor: Joonha Park, assistant professor of mathematics.

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