KU News Release

Sept. 21, 2009
Contact: Sharon Graham, Self Graduate Fellowship Program, (785) 864-7249

KU announces four new Self Graduate Fellows

LAWRENCE — Four doctoral students have been selected to receive the University of Kansas’ prestigious Madison and Lila Self Graduate Fellowship as they begin the 2009-10 academic year. The 28 current Self fellows are among 117 students who have benefited from the fellowship since it was established.

Self fellowships are four-year awards to new or first-year doctoral students that cover full tuition and fees, provide a $24,500 annual payment and include a unique development program. The Fellow Development Program is a distinctive feature of the Self Graduate 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.

The fellowship’s mission is to identify and recruit exceptional doctoral students in the sciences, engineering, business and economics 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., launched and permanently endowed the Self Graduate Fellowship in 1989, motivated by their strong belief in the importance of developing leadership for tomorrow. 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.

From Shawnee 66216

Leslie Ann Smith

Leslie Ann Smith is a doctoral student in aerospace engineering, preparing to work at a national or private research laboratory. Her goal is to “reach for the stars, literally and figuratively.” Smith received a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering from KU in spring 2009. As an undergraduate, Smith performed research on hyper-maneuverable wings in ground effect vehicles, the findings of which were presented at the American Institute for Aeronautics and Astronautics Region V paper competition and were published in the conference proceedings. She has also researched lightning strikes on composite aircraft and aerospace challenges. She had summer internships at Learjet in Wichita in the stability and control department and at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, N.M., in the department of applied aerodynamics and advanced concepts. Smith’s graduate research at KU will focus on scramjet engines. Efficient scramjet powered airliners could reduce overseas travel time — Los Angeles to Tokyo in two hours — and use less fuel. They also could become an efficient propulsion system for space vehicles. Smith is the daughter of Anita and Larry Smith and is a graduate of Shawnee Mission Northwest High School.

From Mascoutah 62258

Amanda Nikole Renth

Amanda Nikole Renth is pursuing a doctorate in bioengineering with plans to work in research and development in the biomaterials industry. Her goals include finding new materials and surgical methods to improve the overall quality of life. Renth received a bachelor’s degree in biological engineering with a biomedical emphasis from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 2009. Her undergraduate research focused on the decellularization of porcine blood vessels for use in people with peripheral artery disease. As an undergraduate, Renth played intercollegiate softball and was named to the Big 12 academic first team for three years and to the Big 12 athletic first team for four years. She was twice named a top 25 finalist for the Collegiate Player of the Year Award offered by the Amateur Softball Association. In 2008, she was named to the ESPN/CoSIDA academic all-region. Renth received the Floyd and Helen Maupin Engineering Scholarship at Missouri. She is the daughter of Craig and Cindy Renth and is a Mascoutah High School graduate.

From St. Joseph 56374

Erin Elizabeth Saupe Finley

Erin Elizabeth Saupe Finley, geology doctoral student, plans to investigate bio-geographic patterns, evolution and species distribution. Her career plans include research in an academic or museum setting and providing expertise for federal policies. Saupe Finley enrolled at KU after receiving a bachelor’s degree in natural science, geology concentration, in 2007 from the College of St. Benedict in St. Joseph, Minn. As an undergraduate, she received numerous awards including the Dom Rosendo Salvado Prize for highest academic honors during her study abroad in Australia and the Best Honors Senior Thesis. Saupe Finley has worked as a freelance writer for Geotimes, co-edited Studio One, a literary magazine produced at the College of St. Benedict, and served as a teaching and research assistant as an undergraduate. In 2006, she received a research internship at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. She has received the Paleontological Society’s Caster Research Grant Award and the Winifred Goldring Award from the Association for Women Geoscientists. She is president of the association’s KU chapter. Last spring, she received KU’s Department of Geology Erasmus S. Haworth Distinguished Graduate Award for her outstanding contribution to the department as a master’s degree student. She plans to receive her master’s degree in fall 2009. Saupe Finley is married to Brian Finley, formerly of Janesville, Minn., and is the daughter of Steve and Linda Saupe of St. Cloud/St. Joseph, Minn.

From Austin 78727 and Granbury 76048

Amy N. Hinkelman

Amy N. Hinkelman is pursuing a doctorate in microbiology in KU’s Department of Molecular Biosciences. She is preparing to play a role in global health and the study of emerging infectious diseases. Hinkelman received a bachelor’s degree in biology in 2008, graduating summa cum laude from Baylor University in Waco, Texas. She was involved in research at Baylor that focused on methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and also a study of pathogenic microorganisms. While at Baylor, she worked as a tutor, a supplemental instruction leader for general biology and a residence hall assistant. Hinkelman’s various outreach and volunteer activities as an undergraduate included two months spent as a health care and teaching volunteer in Varanasi, India, and serving as a nursing student volunteer in Juarez, Mexico. She also volunteered with the Church Under the Bridge, cooking and serving food to the homeless in Waco, Texas. She is the daughter of Terry and Carol Horton in Granbury and of Robb and Rhonda Hinkelman in Austin. She is a graduate of Kennedale High School near Fort Worth.

The University of Kansas is a major comprehensive research and teaching university. University Relations is the central public relations office for KU's Lawrence campus.

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