KU News Release

Oct. 20, 2010
Contact: Kathleen McCluskey-Fawcett, University Honors Program, (785) 864-4225

KU nominates three to compete for Rhodes, Marshall scholarships

More Information

LAWRENCE — Two seniors and one recent graduate of the University of Kansas have been nominated to compete for prestigious Rhodes and Marshall scholarships, which provide for graduate study in Great Britain.

Christopher Winters Martin, a senior majoring in architectural engineering from Dodge City, Kan., and Geneva, Ala., is competing for a Marshall scholarship.

Rachelle Briana Netzer, a spring 2010 graduate in political science from Lawrence, is competing for a Rhodes scholarship.

Chantz Palmer Thomas, a senior majoring in microbiology and history from Lindsborg, is competing for both a Rhodes and a Marshall scholarship.

The Rhodes Foundation annually awards 32 Rhodes scholarships among 16 U.S. districts. The Marshall Aid Commemoration Commission of Britain annually awards up to 40 Marshall scholarships in eight U.S. regions.

KU students have won 25 Rhodes scholarships since 1904, more than all other Kansas colleges and universities combined, and nine Marshall scholarships since 1965.

The 2010 Rhodes competitions take place Nov. 19 and 20. If invited, KU nominees will interview in Kansas City, Mo., alongside competitors from a district that includes Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Mississippi. Two winners will be selected from each district immediately following the Nov. 20 interviews.

KU’s nominees for Marshall scholarships are competing in the Chicago region. Winners in the Chicago region will be selected following Nov. 9 and 10 interviews for finalists. Nominees selected for finalists interviews will travel to Chicago along with other competitors from Kansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin. Winners have 12 days to accept or decline the offer.

Rhodes scholarships were first offered in 1903 and may be used only at Oxford University. Marshalls scholarships were first offered in 1954 and may be used at any university in Britain.

KU students are nominated by faculty and staff. Final nominees are selected through the University Honors Program faculty and staff.

All three nominees are members of the University Honors Program. Biographical information about their academic achievements and leadership on and off campus is listed below.

From Lawrence 66049

Rachelle Netzer

Rachelle Briana Netzer is working as a congressional campaign strategist for a candidate in Louisiana. She is pursuing a career in public service with a goal of providing policy leadership. With a Rhodes scholarship, Netzer hopes to enroll in programs for master’s degrees in global governance and diplomacy and economics of development. As an undergraduate, Netzer sought to gain experience in state and national political arenas. She worked as an intern in the office of Kansas Gov. Mark Parkinson, serving as a constituent services liaison. In spring 2008, she was an intern with the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee under the chairmanship of then-Sen. Joe Biden. Her responsibilities included researching foreign policy issues. Netzer joined the campaign staff for Bruce Cooper in his November 2008 bid for the 54th district seat in the Kansas House of Representatives. That year, she also began volunteering with Organizing for America and continues to do so. Netzer received the 2009 International Trade Council of Greater Kansas City Scholarship awarded to one Kansas City-area student demonstrating excellence in academics, foreign language and experience in international studies. In 2006, after researching microfinance for a term paper, Netzer became active in Kiva, a global microlending organization focused on alleviating poverty. She remains an active investor. This summer, she volunteered with the St. Bernard Project in New Orleans to help rebuild a home destroyed during the floods following Hurricane Katrina. Netzer graduated from KU with highest distinction in spring 2010. She is a member of Phi Beta Kappa national honor society and was a member of the University Honors Program. She is the daughter of Jeffrey and Stephanie Netzer and a Lawrence Free State High School graduate.

From Dodge City 67801 and Geneva, Ala. 36340

Christopher Martin

Christopher Winters Martin is a disabled veteran and construction worker preparing for a career in environmental law and energy policy. His long-range goals include providing leadership in developing sustainable energy policies nationally and internationally. Martin is completing KU’s rigorous five-year architectural engineering program in four years. With a Marshall scholarship, he would like to pursue a master’s degree in sustainable development at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. A National Merit Scholar when he graduated high school in Geneva, Ala., Martin studied chemical engineering at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa for a year before joining the U.S. Marines. He served two and a half years as a company clerk before being honorably discharged for a medical disability. Martin then worked four years in construction, framing houses or serving as a crew leader on larger projects before returning to college. Concerned about the environmental impact of the construction industry’s disposal of materials that could be recycled or restocked, Martin decided to seek a career that would provide opportunity to improve sustainability policies in the industry. He enrolled in KU’s architectural engineering program and found his focus expanding to studying energy generation and transmission as well as energy economics and law. A year ago, he began working with Thomas Glavinich, director of KU’s architectural engineering and construction programs, to research alternative energy legislation and factors impeding the expansion of alternative energy in the United States. That research led Martin to a summer internship with a member of the British Parliament, Ann McKechin of Glasgow, Scotland. His assignments included preparing reports on Scotland’s offshore wind industry and other clean energy policies in the United Kingdom. As chair of KU’s Student Environmental Advisory Board, Martin successfully introduced legislation in the Student Senate requiring LEED certification of new campus structures. He is president of the student chapters of the Architectural Engineering Institute, the National Electrical Contractors Association and the Associated General Contractors Association and is treasurer for Emerging Green Builders, a student group at KU. He volunteers with Habitat for Humanity and Jubilee Café, a breakfast service for community residents in need. Martin has worked as a tutor and teacher in the math department. This fall, he is a teaching assistant for an architectural engineering honors research class. He is also designing a net zero lighting system for a community center in New Orleans through a partnership with a local engineering firm. For the past two years, Martin has received scholarships from the Builders Association of Kansas City and the Heavy Constructors Association. He is a member of the University Honors Program and two national honor societies: Phi Kappa Phi, an interdisciplinary society, and Tau Beta Pi for engineering students. Martin is married to Lindsay (Gibbs) Martin, a spring 2007 KU graduate from Dodge City. He is the son of Scott and Diane Martin.

From Lindsborg 67456

Chantz Thomas

Chantz Palmer Thomas plans to become a physician-scientist. His long-term goals include working to prevent transplant rejection, manage autoimmune disease and combat cancer. With a Marshall scholarship, Thomas would like pursue master’s degrees in immunology and translational medicine. With a Rhodes scholarship, he would like to expand his study of the policy and economics in science and medicine. His quest of research to characterize and control the immune system was inspired during freshman honors tutorial with KU immunologist Laurence Draper, now an emeritus professor. This spring, Thomas was one of 12 students in the country offered a summer internship in immunology at Harvard Medical School. His internship was with the school’s Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and he is being listed among the co-authors of a Harvard research paper that has been submitted for publication. As a KU freshman, Thomas was one of 21 selected for KU’s Honors Research Development Program, which provides incoming sophomores in the sciences and humanities a three-week immersion in basic research methods with a faculty mentor. In that program, Thomas began assisting with immunology research in the lab of Stephen H. Benedict, professor of molecular biosciences. In past two years, Thomas has contributed to research that has implications for autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, insulin dependent diabetes and multiple sclerosis as well as prevention of transplant rejection. Thomas was one of eight students to received a 2009 undergraduate research scholarship through the Kansas IDeA (Institutional Development Awards) Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (K-INBRE) program at KU. The scholarships encourage students to pursue careers in science and, ultimately, promote biomedical research in Kansas. More recently, Thomas became one of four students in the state to receive a K-INBRE Star Trainee Award, which identifies outstanding prospective biomedical researchers during the junior year and provides financial support for the senior year. Last spring, he was nominated for a Goldwater scholarship. Thomas is a member of the University Honors Program. He has a Summerfield scholarship, one of KU’s most prestigious awards for the top graduates of Kansas high schools and is a University Scholar. With his University Scholars mentor, Jonathan Earle, associate professor of history, Thomas is engaged in an independent study of the history of medicine and science. Beyond the classroom, Thomas has provided leadership in his field and on campus. With two faculty members in molecular biosciences — Benedict and Scott Hefty, assistant professor — he helped found KU’s chapter of the American Society for Microbiology and serves as president. He was a freshman student senator and chaired the Student Health Advisory Board. He has served on the review board of the KU Journal of Undergraduate Research and performed with the university’s Jazz Band III. He is the son of Greg and Lorye Thomas and a Smoky Valley High School graduate.

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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