KU News Release


April 8, 2010
Contact: Steven Case, Center for Science Education, (785) 864-2379

Doctoral students earn National Science Foundation fellowships

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LAWRENCE — In the past two years, 17 University of Kansas doctoral students have received National Science Foundation fellowships through its Graduate STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) in K-12 Education program.

The NSF GK-12 Fellowship provides $30,000 for 12 months and covers tuition and travel expenses.

Nine KU doctoral students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics are new fellows for the 2010-11 academic year. Three more received fellowships for the 2009 and 2010 academic years. Five will complete 2009 fellowships in May.

Offered jointly by KU’s Transportation Research Institute and Center for Science Education, the program supports the fellows — all future scientists and teachers of science, technology, engineering and mathematics — to improve their teaching and communication skills. The fellows work in partnership with middle schools to advance science, technology, engineering and mathematics education and to provide role models for younger students.

The goal is to prepare graduate students for professional and scientific careers in the 21st century, said Steven Case, director of the Center for Science Education.

“Graduate students applying for this program tend to be interested in personal development and lifelong learning,” said Case. “NSF developed the GK-12 program recognizing that, in addition to being competent researchers, STEM graduate students must be able to communicate science and research to a variety of audiences.”

KU’s NSF GK-12 Fellows spend one day a week in area middle schools as scientist mentors working with teachers to develop student research. In addition, they spend four hours a week with undergraduates preparing to become teachers through a research methods class.

Special efforts are made to recruit doctoral fellows who are graduates of Kansas City, Kan., or Topeka public schools and can serve as role models to middle school students in those districts.

The NSF GK-12 Fellows are listed below by hometown, field of study, year of fellowship, parents’ names and previous degrees received or schools attended.

DOUGLAS COUNTY
From Lawrence 66044
Blythe Elizabeth Alexander, doctoral student in ecology and evolutionary biology; 2009 NSF GK-12 Fellow; master’s degree from Case Western Reserve University in Ohio; bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland-College Park.

Lisa K. Tiemann, doctoral student in ecology and evolutionary biology; 2009 NSF GK-12 Fellow; bachelor’s degree from the University of Wyoming.

From Lawrence 66046
Charity M. Lander, doctoral student in geology; 2009 and 2010 NSF GK-12 Fellow; master’s degree from Miami University in Ohio; bachelor’s degree from Brigham Young University, Utah.

Robert Christopher Everhart, doctoral student in environmental engineering; 2010 NSF GK-12 Fellow; master’s degree from KU; bachelor’s degree from University of Miami; Lawrence High School.

Branden R. Stone, doctoral student in mathematics; 2010 NSF GK-12 Fellow; master’s degree in mathematics from KU, fall 2009; master’s degree from Missouri State University; bachelor’s degree from the College of the Ozarks.

From Lawrence 66047
Carrie Leeann Woodin, doctoral student in chemistry; 2010 NSF GK-12 Fellow; bachelor’s degree from University of Illinois-Springfield.

From Lawrence 66049
Sarah E. LeGresley, doctoral student in physics; 2010 NSF GK-12 Fellow; daughter of Mary LeGresley; master’s degree from KU; bachelor’s degree from Peru State College in Nebraska; Lawrence High School.

Brian E. Miller, doctoral student in geology; 2009 and 2010 NSF GK-12 Fellow; master’s degree from Bowling Green State University in Ohio; bachelor’s degree from Eastern Michigan University.

Erick Alan Spears, doctoral student in molecular, cellular and developmental biology; 2010 NSF GK-12 Fellow; master’s and bachelor’s degrees from the University of Colorado-Denver.

Lindsey Marie Witthaus, doctoral student in environmental science; 2010 NSF GK-12 Fellow; daughter of James and Marlene Witthaus; bachelor’s degree from University of Pittsburgh; Lawrence Free State High School.

JOHNSON COUNTY
From Lenexa 66216
Valerie A. Jones, doctoral student in aerospace engineering; 2009 NSF GK-12 Fellow; master’s degree in 1995 and bachelor’s degree in 1992, both in aerospace engineering from KU; Parkway Central High School, Chesterfield, Mo.

From Overland Park 66210
Vitaly Oleg Kheyfets, doctoral student in mechanical engineering; 2009 NSF GK-12 Fellow; son of Milai and Oleg Kheyfets; bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering from KU, fall 2004; Blue Valley Northwest High School.

LEAVENWORTH COUNTY
From Lansing 66043
Megan Elizabeth Peck, doctoral student in computer science; 2010 NSF GK-12 Fellow; daughter of Robert and Gloria Lehnherr; bachelor’s degree from KU, spring 2006; Lansing High School.

LYON COUNTY
From Emporia 66801
Amanda Michelle Glass, doctoral student in chemistry; 2010 NSF GK-12 Fellow; daughter of Robert and Kenna Reeves; bachelor’s degree from Emporia State University; Emporia Senior High School.

MISSOURI
From Kansas City 64145
Ilya Evgenievich Tabakh, doctoral student in environmental engineering; 2009 and 2010 NSF GK-12 Fellow; son of Eugene and Diana Tabakh; master’s degree in computing science, summer 2007, and bachelor’s degree in computer engineering, spring 2005, both from KU; Shawnee Mission East High School.

From King City 64463
Kathryn Renee Rebecchi, doctoral student in chemistry; 2009 NSF GK-12 Fellow; bachelor’s degree from Northwest Missouri State University.

WASHINGTON
From Marysville 98270
Dannica Leigh Stadum, doctoral student in mechanical engineering; 2010 NSF GK-12 Fellow; bachelor’s degree from Gonzaga University in Washington.


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