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April 5, 2006
Contact: Sue Lorenz, KU Honors Program, (785) 864-3374.

Two KU students win Udall scholarships in national competition

LAWRENCE — Two University of Kansas students have won Morris K. Udall Scholarships providing $5,000 for students planning careers in fields related to the environment and for Native American and Alaska Natives seeking careers in fields related to health care or tribal policy.

The KU winners are:

— Anton Robert Bengtson, junior in environmental studies, who is preparing for a career in international development as an urban or regional planner focused on creating livable and appealing communities. He is the son of Greg and Roberta “Bobbie” Bengtson of Salina.

— Sarah Laurel Brokenleg, sophomore in social work and a member of the Rosebud Lakota Sioux Nation, is planning a career in health care for Native Americans with a special emphasis on diabetes prevention and education. She is the daughter of the Rev. Dr. Martin Brokenleg of Vancouver, British Columbia, and Karen Brokenleg of Sioux Falls, S.D.

The Morris K. Udall Scholarship and Excellence in National Environmental Policy Foundation in Tucson, Ariz., announced the 80 new scholars for 2006 today.

Chancellor Robert Hemenway said, “Anton Bengtson and Sarah Brokenleg are outstanding scholars planning careers that will benefit and serve others. Each is working with faculty here to help them establish the academic foundation and in-service learning experiences that will help them attain their goals. I join their families and other faculty in congratulating them on being among the 80 students selected nationwide for this scholarship.”

Established by Congress in 1992, the scholarship program honors Congressman Udall and his legacy of public service. Since the first Udall scholarships were awarded in 1996, 16 have been awarded to 14 KU students.

Nominees must be college sophomores or juniors, demonstrate outstanding potential and be studying the environment and related fields, or must be Native American or Alaska Native college sophomores or juniors, demonstrate outstanding potential and be studying in fields related to health care or tribal public policy. Two-year and four-year institutions may nominate a total of six students from either or both categories. Scholars selected during their sophomore year may be renominated during the next year’s competition.

The 2006 KU Udall scholars’ academic and service activities include:

SALINE COUNTY
From Salina
Anton Robert Bengtson is working with Karl Brooks, assistant professor of history and environmental studies, on an undergraduate research grant to analyze growth patterns in metropolitan Kansas City and to determine how regulations may contribute to the prevalence of strip malls in the area. At KU, Bengtson co-directs the Center for Community Outreach, a student agency that coordinates volunteer service activity for campus groups. In that capacity, he has assisted a volunteer group working with area residents to develop an outdoor nature preserve near Baldwin City. As chair of the KU on Wheels Transportation Board, Bengtson supported the successful testing of bio-diesel fuel on two bus routes. The board is working to run its buses on bio-diesel fuel. He serves on KU’s Environmental Sustainability Task Force and on KU’s Transportation Task Force. He is a Salina High School Central graduate.

SOUTH DAKOTA
From Sioux Falls and from Vancouver, British Columbia
Sarah Laurel Brokenleg’s career goals include developing an institute focused on prevention of diabetes among Native Americans in rural communities after she completes a master’s degree in public health and social welfare. Brokenleg noted in her scholarship application that her personal interest in diabetes prevention among indigenous peoples was forged by the loss of relatives to the disease and from watching others in her community suffer amputations or kidney disease related to diabetes. Brokenleg notes that she dropped out of high school and later completed a General Education Degree before entering Haskell Indian Nations University, where her passion for working in tribal health care blossomed. At Haskell, Brokenleg worked as a tutor in math and as a tutor and grader in chemistry. Through the Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement Program, a joint Haskell-KU program funded by the National Institutes of Health, Brokenleg researched medicinal prairie plants used by indigenous peoples that may have applications for use in drugs to fight cancer or diabetes. Gunda Georg, distinguished professor of medicinal chemistry, directed Brokenleg’s two-year project. Since transferring to KU, Brokenleg has also worked with two KU Medical Center researchers implementing a diet and exercise program at an Indian health care facility as well as providing diabetes screening. She is working with Alice Lieberman, professor of social work, to develop a training curriculum on the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978. She has served as president of the Oyate Club for Lakota, Nakota and Dakota students and volunteers with the Pelathe Center, a Native American community program in Lawrence.

CANADA
From Vancouver, British Columbia, and from Sioux Falls, S.D.
Sarah Laurel Brokenleg, see SOUTH DAKOTA.

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