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Aug. 31, 2007
Contact: Sharon Graham, Self Graduate Fellowship Program, (785) 864-7249.

Ten KU doctoral students receive Madison and Lila Self Graduate Fellowships

LAWRENCE — Ten doctoral students have been selected to receive the University of Kansas’ prestigious Madison and Lila Self Graduate Fellowships as they begin the 2007-08 academic year. There are currently 32 Self fellows at KU, including the 10 named today.

Self fellowships are four-year awards to new or first-year doctoral students that provide full tuition and fees, a $24,000 annual payment and a unique development program. The Fellow Development Program is the distinguishing feature of the Self fellowship. It provides general education and training in communication, management and leadership to assist Self fellows in preparation for future leadership roles, complementing the specialized education and training provided in doctoral programs. Fellows interact with nationally prominent experts to gain broad knowledge of public policy issues. A capstone of the development program is an intensive public policy seminar in Washington, D.C.

The fellowship’s mission is to identify and recruit exceptional doctoral students who demonstrate the promise to make significant contributions to their fields of study and society as a whole.

Madison “Al” and Lila Self of Hinsdale, Ill., created the Self Fellowship Fund in 1989; the first fellows were named in 1991. Since then, nearly 100 students have benefited from the program. Madison Self is a 1943 KU graduate in chemical engineering. Lila Self is a native of Eudora and attended KU with the Class of 1943.

The new Self fellows are listed below by hometown.

FORD COUNTY

David Estrada

David Estrada

From Dodge City 67801
David F. Estrada has completed his first year of work toward a doctorate in molecular biosciences. He earned a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from Kansas State University in 1999. A veteran of the war in Iraq, Estrada served in the U.S. Army after his graduation until 2006 when he ended his active duty with the rank of captain. While in the Army, he served as a platoon leader, senior intelligence adviser and most recently as an intelligence operations officer. During his final deployment to Iraq, he provided intelligence support to the major general in command to help him visualize emergent patterns in enemy activity. Estrada, a first-generation college student, has long-term goals to advance the pursuit of protein therapies as a medical researcher in private industry. He is the son of Carlos and Margarita Estrada and a graduate of Dodge City High School.

JOHNSON COUNTY

Sarah Pyszczynski

Sarah Pyszczynski

From Overland Park 66212
Sarah J. Pyszczynski is a new doctoral student in pharmaceutical chemistry. She received a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from KU in 2001. After graduating from KU, Pyszczynski worked as a chemist for Pfizer Inc. She worked on various projects, including a site launch for a new product. As an undergraduate, her numerous honors and awards included the American Institute of Chemists Medal, Superior Achievement in Analytical Chemistry, the May Landis Mathematics Scholarship and the Watkins-Berger Scholarship. Pyszczynski hopes to combine her industry experience and doctorate to influence pharmaceutical manufacturing. She is the daughter of Dennis and Jane Pyszczynski and a graduate of Shawnee Mission South High School.

ARKANSAS
From Jonesboro 72404

Andrea Romero

Andrea Romero

Andrea Romero has completed the first year of work toward a doctorate in ecology and evolutionary biology. She received a bachelor’s degree in biology from Carleton College in Minnesota in 2005. As an undergraduate, Romero participated in research programs in the Galapagos Islands, Grenada, St. Vincent, at Macalaster College and at the Organization for Tropical Studies in Costa Rica and South Africa. Romero received a Mellon Fellowship through Duke University for the research conducted at Kruger National Park in South Africa. Additionally, she has been a teaching assistant for a variety of lab and field-based ecology courses. A native of Venezuela, Romero’s family moved to the United States in 1994 to escape economic and political instability. Romero’s long-term goal is to contribute to conservation efforts, legislation and scientific findings that will impact policies and development of conservation areas. She is the daughter of Aldemaro and Ana Romero, who are faculty members at Arkansas State University. She is graduate of Central High School, St. Paul, Minn.

ARIZONA
From Mesa 85204

John Shelley

John Shelley

John E. Shelley is a new doctoral student in civil, environmental and architectural engineering. He received his bachelor’s degree in civil and environmental engineering in 2007 from Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. His engineering work experience includes summer internships at Kimley-Horn Associates in Phoenix and CMX Engineering in Chandler, Ariz. At Brigham Young, Shelley worked as a teaching assistant and as a research assistant on an international ethics project that included travel to Romania. He also served for two years as a Romanian missionary and as an instructor at the Missionary Training Center in Provo. In high school, he was an Eagle Scout and received the John Phillip Sousa Award for musical and leadership excellence. Shelley’s long-term goals are to apply his technical and leadership abilities as an engineer to the infrastructure needs in developing countries to help raise their quality of life. He is the son of Mark and Wendy Shelley and a graduate of Mesa High School.

IDAHO
From Pocatello 83202

Talia Martin

Talia Martin

Talia T. Martin is a new doctoral student in pharmaceutical chemistry. She graduated this spring with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from KU. She has an associate’s degree in natural sciences from Haskell Indian Nations University. At KU, she was a participant in the Bioscience Initiative Program for Undergraduate Researchers. She has participated in undergraduate research opportunities at KU and at the University of Utah. At Haskell, Martin was a TRIO student tutor and a Student Senate representative. Martin’s awards include a Ronald E. McNair Scholarship and a Bureau of Indian Affairs Scholarship. She was also named a KU Woman of Distinction in 2004. Martin is the first in her family to receive a college degree. In addition to conducting research in industry, Martin hopes to develop programs that can help resolve health-related and socioeconomic problems faced by Native Americans. She is the daughter of Kathy Martin and a graduate of Shoshone-Bannock School in Fort Hall, Idaho.

MISSOURI
From St. Joseph 64507

Steven Hart

Steven Hart

Steven N. Hart has completed his first year toward a doctorate in the Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in biomedical sciences at the KU Medical Center. Hart received a bachelor’s degree in biotechnology from Missouri Western State University in 2006. He was the Donald Robbins Scholar of the Year at Missouri Western. He was also a member of the Student/Faculty Discipline Committee, Phi Sigma Kappa fraternity, Student Senate and the national biology honor society. His undergraduate research experiences include studying population genetics of an endangered species of rattlesnake and a study to determine sequence specificity for DNA minor groove binding drugs. Hart’s long-term goal is to own a company that will enable him to bring personalized medicine to the public utilizing his training in pharmacogenomics. He is a graduate of St. Joseph Central High School.

OHIO
From Alliance 44601

Peter Schillig

Peter Schillig

Peter C. Schillig will work on his doctorate in geology. He received his bachelor’s degree in geological sciences in 2005 from Ohio University and is currently working on his master’s degree at KU. As an undergraduate, he received many honors, including placing first in the Ohio University Research Fair (geology and geography), the Stocker Undergraduate Scholarship Award for Personal Achievement and the Outstanding Graduating Senior in Geological Sciences Award. His undergraduate research focused on hydrogeolgic effects of coal mining. Schillig has served in the Air Force ROTC, worked as a graduate teaching assistant and co-authored a guide book for an Ozark karst field trip. At KU, Schillig is investigating biological influence on groundwater velocity in porous media. Schillig plans to pursue a career in government and make contributions to the techniques and technology associated with aquifer characterization and remediation. He is the son of Wayne and Lori Schillig and a graduate of Marlington High School in Alliance.

OREGON
From West Linn 97068

Annalise Nawrocki

Annalise Nawrocki

Annalise M. Nawrocki has completed the first year of work toward a doctorate in ecology and evolutionary biology. She received her bachelor’s degree in molecular biology and genetics from Northwestern University in 2003. Before coming to KU, Nawrocki worked as a medical writer and senior account executive for Prescott Medical Communications Group in Chicago. As an undergraduate, she worked as a technician at an animal hospital, participated in Northwestern’s undergraduate research and was president of her sorority. Her research is focused on marine organisms that live in compromised oceanic habitats. In her first year at KU, Nawrocki received the Ida H. Hyde Scholarship for Women in Science for study at a marine field station. She hopes to ensure that government policy, medicine and education appropriately reflect the knowledge gained from those systems. She is the daughter of Christopher and Joanne Nawrocki and a graduate of Cotter High School and Minnesota Academy of Mathematics and Science, Winona, Minn.

SOUTH DAKOTA
From Sioux Falls 57104

Michael Amolins

Michael Amolins

Michael W. Amolins is a new doctoral student in medicinal chemistry. He graduated in the spring from Augustana College in Sioux Falls, S.D., with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry. Amolins received a Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and numerous other academic honors. He was invited to present a poster at the 2005 International Green Chemistry Summer School in Venice, Italy, where he was the only undergraduate and only American to attend. He also spent a summer as a research intern at the Argonne National Laboratory and has research experience at Purdue University. He has held leadership positions with the student chapter of the American Chemical Society and the Augustana Band and Northlanders Jazz Ensemble. Amolins intends to purse a career in cancer studies that focuses specifically on drug design and synthesis. He is the son of Douglas and Betty Amolins and a graduate of Lincoln High School in Sioux Falls.

WASHINGTON
From Mukilteo 98275

Joshua Sestak

Joshua Sestak

Joshua O. Sestak is a new doctoral student in pharmaceutical chemistry. He received his bachelor’s degree in chemistry in 2004 from Gonzaga University. He worked as a research associate at NASTECH Pharmaceuticals in Bothell, Wash. There he was involved in pharmaceutical drug formulation preparation and was a contributing scientist on four patents. At Gonzaga, Sestak was involved in undergraduate research, participated in “Campus Kids” as an adviser for at-risk youth and was a member of Gonzaga University Knights, a service organization. Sestak has been active in Boy Scouts and earned the Eagle Scout rank in 1997. Sestak plans to return to the pharmaceutical industry and hopes to influence research to develop cutting-edge therapeutics. Ultimately, he hopes to start his own company.

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