Feb. 23, 2004

Contact: Sue Lorenz. KU honors program, (785) 864-4225 or Mary Jane Dunlap, University Relations, (785) 864-8853.

KU nominates 3 students for Truman Scholarship national competition

LAWRENCE -- Three University of Kansas students have been nominated to compete for a 2004 Truman scholarship. The national scholarships provide up to $26,000 for college students preparing for leadership in public service.

KU's nominees are Elizabeth A. Franklin, Cedar Falls, Iowa; Shannon Kreiser Portillo, Lake Quivira; and Christopher B. Wiles, Leavenworth.

A selection committee is reviewing applications from about 600 candidates for the Truman Foundation in Washington, D.C. Approximately 200 nominees will be named finalists on Feb. 24. Those finalists will compete for 75 to 80 scholarships that will be awarded in March.

Regional panels interview the finalists and make recommendations for the 75 to 80 scholarships available nationally. Truman scholars are chosen based on leadership potential, intellectual ability and the likelihood of "making a difference." Candidates must be planning careers in public service and must propose a solution to a public policy issue as part of their application.

Since 1981, 15 KU students have become Truman scholars. The Truman Scholarship Foundation was established by Congress in 1975 and made its first scholarship awards in 1977.

Previous KU Truman scholars include State Sen. David Adkins, who in 1981 was the first KU student to receive a Truman scholarship.

KU 2004 nominees are:

 • Elizabeth A. Franklin, junior in American studies and Spanish, is the daughter of Mark and Cynthia Franklin of Cedar Falls, Iowa. She is a graduate of Cedar Falls High School and has attended the University of Santiago de Compostela in Spain and the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls. Franklin plans a career in public policy working to improve sexuality education to help reduce unwanted pregnancies and the incidence of sexually transmitted diseases. As a KU student, Franklin serves as president of the Sexuality Education Committee at Ecumenical Christian Ministries. This fall she worked with Dennis Dailey, KU professor of social welfare, to organize a well-attended four-part lecture series. The lectures progressed from an examination of intimacy to the effects of sexual abuse. Franklin is a National Merit scholar at KU and one of 10 KU freshmen selected as a Chancellors Club scholar in 2001. She plans to seek master's degrees in sociology and public policy. Her policy proposal is addressed to Tommy G. Thompson, U.S. secretary of health and human services. To overcome inherent problems in the Abstinence Education Grant Program, Franklin proposes ending the abstinence-based program and starting a Comprehensive Sexuality Education Grant Program.

 • Shannon Kreiser Portillo, senior in political science and international studies, is the daughter of Gerald and Josephine Portillo of Lake Quivira. She also has attended Cambridge University in England and is a graduate of Shawnee Mission Northwest High School. At KU, she is a dean's scholar, a scholarship program for outstanding minority students preparing for graduate school. She is president of the campus chapter of National Society of Collegiate Scholars. Through NSCS's Planning for College Success program, Portillo provided leadership for a nationally recognized campaign that located more than 400 KU students to volunteer as mentors and tutors for the Lawrence public school district. The KU student volunteers helped fill tutoring positions lost with budget cuts in the local school districts. She is also co-founder and co-president of the Students of Promise Alliance, a community-based organization that provides a climate in which children can thrive physically, educationally and emotionally. She plans to pursue a joint master's degree program in public policy and law. Portillo envisions a career in which she can influence policy decisions concerning civic education in schools. She addressed her policy proposal to Rod Paige, U.S. secretary of education, recommending three initiatives to ensure that the DotNet and future generations are engaged in civic affairs necessary for a strong democracy.

 • Christopher B. Wiles, senior in political science, is the son of Bailey and Patricia Wiles of Leavenworth. He is a graduate of Pleasant Ridge High School in Easton. At KU, Wiles has received several scholarships, including National Merit and Woodrow Wilson scholarships. He sometimes has worked 40-hour-a-week jobs while attending KU and has been on the honor roll each semester. Last spring, Wiles worked in the Washington office of U.S. Rep. Jim Ryun (R-Kan.) through KU's Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics internship program. During summer 2003, Wiles was a Pickering fellow with the U.S. Department of State's officer in-training program. He plans to pursue graduate study in law and political theory. Wiles' career goals are to work either with U.S. domestic policy or in foreign policy. Ultimately he would like to serve as an elected official in Congress. Wiles addressed his policy proposal to provide tax relief to lower income families to U.S. Rep. William M. Thomas, chair of the Joint Committee on Taxation. Wiles proposed increasing refundable tax credits, rather than further reducing nominal income taxes for families with lower incomes.

Winners will be announced by the Harry S. Truman Foundation, Washington, D.C., in late March and early April.


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