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March 16, 2006
Contact: Sue Lorenz, KU Honors Program, (785) 864-3374.

KU nominates three students for national Udall scholarship competition

LAWRENCE — Three University of Kansas students are among more than 500 students nationally competing for 80 Morris K. Udall scholarships. The scholarships provide $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.

Winners will be announced online April 5 by the Udall Foundation.

The KU nominees are two juniors in environmental studies, Anton Robert Bengtson from Salina and Bridget Kathleen Livers from Overland Park; and a sophomore in social work, Sarah Laurel Brokenleg, who is a member of the Rosebud Lakota Sioux Nation.

Since the first Udall scholarships were awarded in 1996, 14 have been awarded to 13 KU students (one student received the scholarship twice).

Established by Congress in 1992, the scholarship program honors Congressman Udall and his legacy of public service. The Morris K. Udall Scholarship and Excellence in National Environmental Policy Foundation in Tucson, Ariz., administers the program.

Nominees must be college sophomores or juniors who demonstrate outstanding potential and study the environment and related fields or must be Native American or Alaska Native college sophomores or juniors who demonstrate outstanding potential and study 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 career goals, hometown information and academic and service activities for the KU nominees are below.

JOHNSON COUNTY
From Overland Park
Bridget Kathleen Livers, junior in environmental studies, is preparing for a career researching environmental problems, particularly those related to conflicts encountered with growing human populations and dwindling habitats for wildlife. She is applying for an internship with the Environmental Projection Agency Kansas City regional offices. Livers volunteers with Operation Wildlife in Lawrence. As a freshman living in a campus residence hall, Livers successfully campaigned to get other residents to take responsibility for recycling their trash at a Lawrence recycling facilities. Next fall, Livers plans to study abroad at Otago University in New Zealand, an area of the world with a highly diverse array of ecosystems. She is a member of Phi Kappa Phi honor society and KU’s honors program. She is the daughter of Richard and Lenda Livers and is a Blue Valley Northwest High School graduate.

SALINE COUNTY
From Salina
Anton Robert Bengtson, junior in environmental studies, ultimately wants to work in international development as an urban or regional planner focused on using environmentally sound practices to manage resources and to create livable and appealing communities. He 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 the son of Greg and Roberta “Bobbie” Bengtson and is a Salina High School Central graduate.

SOUTH DAKOTA
From Sioux Falls and from Vancouver, British Columbia
Sarah Laurel Brokenleg, sophomore in social work, plans a career in health care for Native Americans with a special emphasis on diabetes prevention and education. Once she has completed a master’s degree in public health and social welfare, her goal is to develop an institute focused on prevention of diabetes among Native Americans in rural communities. 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 also 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. She is the daughter of the Rev. Dr. Martin Brokenleg of Vancouver and of Karen Brokenleg of Sioux Falls.

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

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