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May 4, 2006
Contact: Lauren Beatty, University Relations, (785) 864-8856.

Graduation stories: KU senior feels equally at home in the lab and on the stage

Storkel

Larissa Ejzak

LAWRENCE — At the University of Kansas, there are students who major in physics and there are students who major in theater.

Then there is Larissa Ejzak, who will earn bachelor’s degrees in both of those disciplines when she graduates from KU on May 21.

Ejzak (pronounced AY-zak) grew up in Wheaton, Ill., with a mother who dances ballet and father who works as an engineer. When she was growing up, her father taught her physics while she particpated in community theater.

“I’ve always had this problem — everything sounds interesting,” Ejzak said of choosing her hobbies and passions.

Upon coming to KU, Ejzak decided to major in two programs with seemingly nothing in common. But she has been successful in combining the two, despite the raised eyebrows she gets when she tells people about her double life. She has a 4.0 GPA and earned a perfect score on the GRE.

She is also writing and starring in a play about survivors of a gamma-ray burst. “Burst” will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 10, in the Inge Theatre at Murphy Hall.

Adrian Melott, professor of physics and Ejzak’s phyics adviser, said he has been impressed by Ejzak since they met two years ago. They have co-authored physics papers that have been published in science journals.

“She’s performed as well as grad students,” he said.

Jeanne Klein, associate professor of theatre and film, has been working with Ejzak on “Burst,” which will garner theater honors for Ejzak.

“She’s doing everything” for the play, Klein said. “It’s such a neat project. I learned a lot.”

Ejzak is headed to the University of Wisconsin-Madison to pursue graduate studies in physics. She plans to continue with theater, too.

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