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Hawks to Watch: Becky Mandelbaum, Writer

Mon, 01/08/2018 - 08:31
Why Becky’s a Hawk to Watch:

Aspiring writers everywhere should take a page out of award-winning Becky Mandelbaum‘s book. Writing, for Becky, is about moving through the world full of curiosity, every moment packed with inspiration, and then painting the characters on a page. Creating fiction is about being obsessed with what you do. Oh, and it’s about practicing, lots of practicing. Becky’s passion found life in the creative writing program at KU. Since graduating in 2013, Becky’s won the Lawrence Art Center’s Langston Hughes Award for Fiction and in 2016 her debut book “Bad Kansas” won the Flannery O’Connor Award, the highest award for collections of short fiction. Becky’s work has appeared in notable literary publications including The Georgia Review, The Rumpus, Necessary Fiction, Salt Hill, Great Jones Street, Hobart, Midwestern Gothic, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, and elsewhere. But being a writer is also about being tenacious and finding a way to make ends meet so you can find the time and energy to write. Currently, that “other job” for Becky is working as a cashier in the North Cascades National Park, Washington, an inspiring backdrop as she works on the draft of her first novel, tentatively titled “The Hurting Animals.”

Tell us what you do for a living:

Right now, what I do for a living has little to do with my writing career. Many writers know the drill: you find work in a coffee shop, or a restaurant, or, in my case, a gift store—anything to make ends meet so you can write. This past summer, I was a cashier at a gift shop in North Cascades National Park. Hawking hummingbird finger puppets to tourists doesn’t exactly make my heart sing, but it does provide a healthy supply of stories while leaving mental energy for my real work, which takes place at home, in the gauzy morning hours before work, with a blank page and a full French press.

What do you feel is your biggest achievement so far?

On paper, winning the Flannery O’Connor Award and publishing my first book, “Bad Kansas,” are certainly my biggest achievements. And yet, on a personal level, I feel most accomplished whenever I’m getting my work done. At the moment, I’m excited about finishing the early drafts of my first novel, tentatively titled “The Hurting Animals.” This novel had its start when I was a senior at KU, and the characters have been nagging me ever since. It feels good knowing they’re safely on the page, even if those pages never reach the outside world.

What’s your lowest career moment and how did you pick yourself up and move on?

Strangely, this current moment feels like both the lowest and highest of my career. In terms of writing, my career is going well: I have a book out, I won an award, I have permission to keep writing. And yet, on a day-to-day level, I’ve been working at a cash register, earning only a teaspoon more than minimum wage. The way I’m picking myself up and moving on is by getting my work done—finishing my manuscript, looking forward to the next project. The beauty of writing is that it gives back twofold whatever you put into it. As long as you’re willing to do the work, it’ll be there to support you, and I’m finding that true now more than ever.

Where do you hope to be in 10 years?

I hope to be living somewhere beautiful, near mountains and water, with time and space (and, fingers crossed, my very own desk) in which to work on whatever it is I’m working on: a novel, essays, short stories. I also love teaching and hope to ultimately settle into a career as a fiction writing instructor. It’d be a cruel world if I didn’t also have a dog.

What do you know now that you wish you could tell your 18-year-old self?

Even the bad writing is important.

What’s your best career pro-tip?

Write what obsesses you, not what you think other people will find interesting.

How did your KU degree prepare you for your current job?

KU is where I learned how to write fiction. Writing is 90% practice, but there are elements of fiction writing that can be learned, like how to increase tension, reveal character, craft dialogue, etc. Those basic elements I learned at KU, in my undergraduate fiction writing workshops, and have carried with me ever since.

What do you do after you’ve clocked out?

The wonderful and terrible thing about writing is that you never clock out—the writing brain is always on, paying attention, searching for material. Every conversation is dialogue. Every personal catastrophe is a chapter. Luckily, certain activities are useful for exercising this writing brain. For me, hiking and traveling go hand in hand with writing. The body is in motion, absorbing new experiences and locations that may end up on the page.

What is a fun fact about you that surprises people?

For fun, usually around the holidays, I like to make ornamental dolls out of human hair. I try to assure people the dolls are whimsical, not malicious. Needless to say, some people appreciate the art form more than others.

Be like Becky. Here’s more information on the KU English Department’s B.A. in Creative Writing.

Hawks to Watch are disrupters. They’re poised for greatness, inspiring their colleagues and excelling in their professions. Basically, they’re killing it. Having recently graduated, they are just starting to leave their mark and we can’t wait to see how their story unfolds. These Jayhawks span all industries including business, non-profits, tech, healthcare, media, law and the arts. 

13 #HeartofKU moments from 2017

Tue, 12/19/2017 - 08:02

The College is the heart of KU because it’s home to creators, innovators and thinkers who turn up every day compelled to make the world better for everyone. They question the status quo, experiment with new ideas and products, and propose solutions and new ways of thinking that address the challenges we all face. Looking back, it’s amazing to see what our students, professors and alumni have accomplished in the past year. They made ground-breaking discoveries, received national and international recognition for their work and made lasting impact in business, technologies, the arts, entertainment and education. Here are just a few highlights from 2017.

Beating superbugs with innovation, NIH recognizes KU professor’s antibiotics research with $2.3M award

A personal experience compelled KU bioscientist Joanna Slusky to focus her research on one of the world’s most pressing public health questions: how to combat drug-resistant superbugs and re-establish the efficacy of antibiotics. Professor Slusky’s solution to the problem is a protein that will resensistize bacteria to common antibiotics, an invention that could have a global effect on the battle against disease. Slusky’s research was recognized with a Moore Inventor Fellowship, a three-year grant worth more than $800,000, in 2016, and a $2.3 million New Innovator Award from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in October 2017. Read more about Joanna Slusky’s story in this KU Alumni Association feature.

When fossils attack: Explore KU’s newest exhibit

KU’s new Earth, Energy and Environment Center (EEEC) came to life this fall with the addition of two fossils hanging from Slawson Hall’s atrium: a mosasaur chasing an 84-million-year-old sea turtle. In a nod to our history and the study of geology, these specimens represent a time when the Kansas prairie was a vast inland sea, and when the Cretaceous-era reptiles roamed and hunted. The mosasaur is the state fossil of Kansas. You may recognize this particular one because it is a cast of a specimen that now resides in KU’s Natural History Museum. Measuring 45 feet in length, it was discovered in 1911 in Logan County, Kansas, and is believed to be the largest complete mosasaur fossil in existence.

Sea turtles were likely prey animals of mosasaurs in the Cretaceous seas of Kansas. The fossil specimen now on display was collected near Quinter, Kansas, by KU alumnus and Triebold Paleontology curator Anthony Maltese. It shows nearly 100 small indentations that have been interpreted as bite marks from a mosasaur that was similar in size to the fossil hanging in Slawson Hall. The bite marks show no evidence of healing, indicating the mosasaur attack was fatal.

The Earth, Energy & Environment Center (EEEC) sits next to Lindley Hall and will open for classes in spring 2018. The two buildings of the EEEC—Ritchie Hall and Slawson Hall— will feature bridges to Lindley Hall and Learned Hall. The multidisciplinary center is a collaboration between the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences and the School of Engineering. It will bring together faculty, students and researchers from geology and engineering to tackle energy and environmental research.

 

Rewriting classics with feminist twist wins Kij Johnson top writing award

Even though she had already won the three most prestigious awards a science fiction/fantasy author can win, Assistant Professor of English Kij Johnson was still thrilled to win the 2017 World Fantasy Award for best long fiction for her 2016 novella, “The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe” (Tor.com). “Vellitt Boe,” with its middle-aged female protagonist, is a feminist riff on H.P. Lovecraft’s novella “The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath,” published posthumously in 1943. It struck a deep chord with readers.

Johnson is making a career — or at least an epoch — out of updating classic novels with a feminist twist. “I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about classics that excluded people,” Johnson said. “It got me to thinking about what books mattered to me when I was young and what accommodations I had to do in order to enjoy them. So, for instance, in ‘Lord of the Rings’ there were only three women in it. They were an elf princess, and I knew I wasn’t one of those, and a half-elf princess, and I knew I wasn’t one of those, and a human girl who was a princess, which I knew I wasn’t, but whose primary motivation for all of her actions was that she had a crush on Aragorn. And that was really disappointing when I was 10 years old, because I didn’t want to have crushes on anybody. So I would imagine that Merry, who is one of the hobbits who goes on the quest, was a girl, because the name Merry was pretty close to Mary, and Merry didn’t have to be a boy to have adventure.” We’re excited to read her latest, “The River Bank,” (Small Beer Press) a sequel to Kenneth Grahame’s 1908 “The Wind in the Willows” with two female protagonists.

New $20M NSF award will fund collaborative research on the role of microorganisms in plants, water and soil

The University of Kansas will partner with four other Kansas universities on a new project funded by $20 million from the National Science Foundation to gain a better understanding of how tiny microorganisms, collectively known as microbiomes, influence environmental changes and the resulting economic implications. Kristin Bowman-James, a KU distinguished professor of chemistry who is serving as the principal investigator of the project, said: “This project will pull scientists together from different disciplines and different universities to work together on an important research area,” Bowman-James said. “Microorganisms play an important role in a wide variety of areas that affect our lives, which ultimately can impact human health and the health of our environment.” Studying these tiny living things can be critical to understanding several key issues for the state, including agricultural sustainability, water quality, greenhouse gases, plant productivity and soil fertility, Bowman-James said. James Bever, a KU Foundation Professor of ecology and evolutionary biology and a senior scientist at the Kansas Biological Survey, will help coordinate a portion of the work.

 

Flint water crisis led to lower fertility rates, higher fetal death rates, researchers find

Flint’s lead-contaminated water crisis caused fewer babies being born there — through reduced fertility rates and higher fetal death rates — compared with other Michigan cities during that time, according to a working paper that includes a University of Kansas researcher. “Having children in America is expensive and resource-intensive, and we want people to have the number of children they want when they want to have them. We, as Americans, are very much about individual people getting to make the choices that are the best for their families, and this is one of the most fundamental ones,” said David Slusky, assistant professor of economics.

The implications of the Flint environmental crisis provide wide-ranging lessons for cities and states, Slusky said. Lead poisoning is still a concern in most communities, especially in the use of older lead pipes for infrastructure or older homes that might have lead paint. Flint also provides a lesson in the role of public health and environmental oversight. Much of the work uncovering the dangerous levels of contamination in Flint came from private engineering and health professionals during a time when city leaders said the water was fine, Sluksy said. This could be an important lesson concerning government funding of agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency and other federal and state bodies responsible for environmental inspections and oversight. “In the future we would like to have a government that is more responsive and more active in ensuring that the water that comes out of people’s taps is safe,”  Slusky said.

Three KU professors named fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science

Three University of Kansas professors have been named as fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

This year’s honorees:

  • Susan Lunte, Ralph N. Adams Distinguished Professor of Chemistry & Pharmaceutical Chemistry
  • A. Townsend Peterson, University Distinguished Professor of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology and senior curator at the KU Biodiversity Institute
  • Franklin (Feng) Tao, Miller Associate Professor of Chemical & Petroleum Engineering and Chemistry.

They are among 396 new fellows to receive this honor this year in recognition of their scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications.

“It is always gratifying to have our faculty members receive this recognition from AAAS, one of our country’s most distinguished scientific organizations,” said Chancellor Douglas A. Girod. “Designation as fellows is a well-deserved honor for all of these scientists, and it reflects well on the research efforts of our entire university. I congratulate them for their outstanding contributions to their respective fields.”

Author Coins Term ‘Adapturgy’ For Burgeoning Field

With interest in dramaturgy growing nearly as fast as that in the adaptation of literature into different artistic genres, the time is ripe, according to Assistant Professor of Theatre Jane Barnette, for her new book, “Adapturgy: The Dramaturg’s Art and Theatrical Adaptation” (Southern Illinois University Press, 2018). Barnette delves into both the theory and the practice of moving from page to stage from the dramaturg’s perspective. “The central question in dramaturgy is why this play now?” Barnette said. “Why are we performing this particular play in 2017? So I have transformed that question in the book into ‘why this source as theatre now?’ You should always know why and what it’s saying to your current worldview. But if you are doing an adaptation, you need to understand why you are doing this source as theatre now. Because you could turn it into a film, a ballet or any other medium, but the adapter has chosen theatre. So part of my job is to figure out what does theatre allow us to do with this source that just reading it doesn’t allow?”

Hawks to Watch: Young alumni making their mark

What connects the Oscar-winning “The Jungle Book” movie and the California High Speed Railway? What about artistic pastries at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and Netflix? Or online music mag Pitchfork and some of the oldest rarest books in America? The answer is KU College graduates, our latest class of Hawks to Watch. These recent alums are poised for greatness, inspiring their colleagues and excelling in their professions. Their successes in such a wide range of industries are testament to the diverse ways the liberal arts and sciences prepare students for almost any career.

 KU Debate ranked number one in the country

The Kansas debate team of seniors William Katz, of Topeka, and Quaram Robinson, Round Rock, Texas, ended the fall semester with a first-place finish at the prestigious Franklin R. Shirley Classic Debate Tournament hosted by Wake Forest University earlier this month. More than 130 teams from across the country competed. The pair defeated Harvard University in the semifinals and Emory University in the championship debate. Katz and Robinson finished the first semester as the top-ranked individual team in the country, and the KU squad as a whole is ranked No. 1 in the country in the NDT Varsity point rankings.

 

Federal grant to help preserve endangered Kiowa language

As an amateur linguist growing up among the Kiowa people a century ago, Parker McKenzie devised a method of writing his native language using English letters. Now his great-grandson, University of Kansas Assistant Professor of Linguistics Andrew McKenzie, is completing a book that will go further than ever before in outlining the grammar of Kiowa. Andrew McKenzie’s work is urgent, he said, because most of the remaining fluent Kiowa speakers (a few dozen) are quite elderly. In fact, several of those he has interviewed have subsequently passed away. “It’s an urgent task to document the language while it’s still preservable,” Andrew McKenzie said recently. “Teachers of the language will need to know this going into the future.” Andrew McKenzie recently won a three-year grant from the Documenting Endangered Languages program of the National Science Foundation and National Endowment for the Humanities to fill in a gap on Kiowa.

Distinguished Alumni: Ambassador Delano Lewis, Diplomat and Executive

The list of careers Delano Lewis has held is lengthy and diverse. After graduating from KU in 1960 with majors in political science and history and a law degree soon after, he embarked on a career including roles with the Justice Department and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Peace Corps in Nigeria and Uganda, as U.S. Ambassador to South Africa, CEO of NPR and more than 20 years in telecommunications with C & P Telco in D.C., culminating as president of Bell Atlantic/DC, which is now Verizon.

Alongside his professional career, Lewis has made contributions as a public servant and philanthropist in the Washington, D.C. community, and on a federal level. Recently, he’s focused his energy on sharing his experiences with others, compiling his life lessons in his memoir, “It All Begins with Self: How to Discover Your Passion, Connect with People, and Succeed in Life.”

In recognition of his diverse and impactful career, the KU College of Liberal Arts & Sciences honored Lewis with our 2017 Distinguished Alumni Award. We sat down with him to learn more about his approach to leadership and learning.

KU geologists help spearhead development of app

Thanks to the work of geologists at the University of Kansas, all you need starting today to create detailed geologic maps of any region on Earth is a smartphone or a tablet and a desire to understand. Led by James Douglas Walker, the Union Pacific Resources Distinguished Professor of Geology at KU, the group helped plan and conceptualize a new geologic mapping app called the StraboSpot Data System. KU also completed all of the programming and technical development on Strabo. The KU Geology Department tested the app over the last two years in its GEOL 560 and 561 field courses in Colorado. “Strabo is an app tailored to field geologists and field students,” Walker said. “Behind the scenes, Strabo works more like Facebook than Excel, like other map-making systems such as ArcGIS do. The technology behind Strabo is completely different than the technology we’ve used before.”

A Year in Instagram Pics

This year, KU College Jayhawks shared with us their special moments gazing at our beautiful campus, supporting the football team with music, returning to campus to celebrate achievements, exploring the world, and capping off years of hard work with graduation from the KU College.

Winter grad profiles 2017

Fri, 12/08/2017 - 09:04

Learning from the experiences of other Jayhawks is the best way to make the most of your time on the Hill. So, we asked some of the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences students who are candidates for completing their degrees in the Fall and Summer of 2017 to share some advice. Read their words, and discover the value of exploring Lawrence, taking online classes and finding that passion that motivates you to achieve great things.

Yasmeen Mansour, bachelor’s in sociology, minors in women, gender and sexuality studies and leadership studies. 

“After graduation, I plan on going into the workforce for a while and then applying to medical schools to become a gynecologist! Looking back, the one piece of advice I would give to incoming freshmen would be to really take advantage of every opportunity and go out with friends more, even if you feel like staying home. College makes the best, most unique memories and friendships that can’t be made at any other period in your life, so definitely go to that event that you were hesitant to go to, introduce yourself to your professor, and wear those sparkly pants to the party! Another piece of advice would be to explore Lawrence! 

Katherin Morales, bachelor’s in behavioral neuroscience and psychology.

“My favorite KU memory is adopting my now two-year-old puppy, Chloe. She keeps me grounded and entertained (she’s really cute too). My favorite time of year at KU is the week when all of the tulips blossom on Jayhawk Blvd – so many beautiful, vibrant colors to take in and enjoy.

I just finished applying to Ph.D. programs inneuroscience, so I hope to continue my education next fall. I would like to conduct research on neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, that will provide a deeper understanding of their causes and progression.”

 Trenton James, master’s in public administration.

“While at KU I was promoted to an administrative position within a state-funded agency. Prior to my involvement with the MPA program I had been seen as a leader within my organization and given the opportunity to function in this capacity. I believe I was promoted because the administration noticed the maturing of my leadership skills and ability to engage the community and stakeholders in meaningful conversations about the future of criminal justice and reform. Looking back at my experience my advice to current or new students is to find your motivation.”

Haley Tinch, bachelor’s in speech-language-hearing (speech langage pathology and audiology).

“I’ve learned to branch out and explore different majors. When I first arrived at KU I was only concerned with projects and classes related to my major, but after time I branched out by taking classes in applied behavioral science, linguistics, psychology, anthropology, and sociology. Due to this, it landed me an internship in the realm of applied behavioral sciences.

Micah Swimmer, master’s in indigenous nation studies.

“My favorite KU memory was during career day at Haskell Indian Nations University. I visited with the Global Indigenous Nations Studies Program at KU and took a brochure. After reading it, I noticed that it said, “Preservation and Management of Indigenous Resources: Language Documentation and Revitalization.” Working in some capacity with my language has been a lifelong dream of mine. I went through the application process and a couple weeks later, I received my acceptance letter to the program!!

My plan after graduation is to continue fighting to keep our language alive and well. As of right now, I am working as the Adult Language and Education Coordinator at New Kituwah Academy in Cherokee, N.C. After graduation, I look to one day become the manager of New Kituwah Academy (It requires a master’s degree, so thank you, KU, for the opportunity).”

 

En Ning Leow, bachelor’s in psychology.

“KU offers many opportunities to be involved in all sorts of academic and leisure activities; from study abroad programs to research experiences, events of diverse cultures and basketball games, all of these have contributed to the fun and meaningful times I’ve had in KU. After I graduate, I plan to venture out to other parts of the world to continue with my post-graduate education, and KU has taught me that being bold in taking initiatives is the first step toward achieving my goal.”

Kate Albers, bachelor’s in psychology, minor in sociology. “KU is a stepping stone for me to enter into graduate school and earn a degree in counseling. The diverse course offerings have helped me gain knowledge and understanding about persons from many different walks of life which will help me to give support and guidance to my future patients.

I would advise current students to look at their time at KU as not only an opportunity to advance their career path, but also to grow as human beings by opening themselves up to the experiences and knowledge that the coursework and the teaching staff have to offer.KU was my school of choice because it offered me the opportunity of advancing my degree and self while also offering flexibility so I can juggle being a mom and my other responsibilities.”

 

Finals Week Freakout? 6 Tips to Take on the Big Week

Thu, 11/30/2017 - 13:00

Finals are almost here Jayhawks, are you ready? Take note of these six tips to make your big week go as stress-free as possible.

1. Get that schedule down!

Quick, do you know when and where each of your finals are?

Grab a calendar and write down the date and time for each of your finals. Avoid a last-second scramble to find your testing location.

2. Know what scores you need!

Know what your current grade is, and how much your final is worth. That way you can calculate what grade you need on the final. Who knows: you may have locked down that A already!

3. Make a schedule: and stick to it!

Avoid the late-night coffee-powered Anschutz cram session! Create a schedule and study for each class every day.

4. Test yourself, don’t just read the textbook!

When all you do is read the book, you aren’t testing what you know and don’t know. Make flash cards to review key terms and concepts.

5. Finish those essays now!

Got an essay due the last day of finals? Don’t put it off, get it done this week. You’ll thank yourself soon. And if you’re stuck, schedule an appointment with the KU Writing Center today!

6. Get some sleep!

No all-nighters allowed! A tired brain doesn’t hold old information or process new information as well as a well-rested one.

Follow these tips and your week will go great. Your break is just around the corner!

Hawks to Watch: Eric Beightel

Tue, 11/28/2017 - 11:49

Why Eric’s a Hawk to Watch:

Environmental sustainability underpins Eric’s varied and impactful career supporting telecommunications, the army, the Obama administration and California High-Speed Rail.  Lawrence born and raised, Eric completed a KU degree in Environmental Studies in 2001. His first job after KU was with an engineering firm in Kansas City where he was tasked with environmental permitting for telecommunications in the western United States. He then moved on to work with the KS Army National Guard as their natural resources manager,  managing and developing sustainability efforts for the 36,000 camp used for realistic training. After 3 or 4 years there, he worked in relation to the preservation of national monuments throughout the country and then accepted a job as an environmental policy advisor for the Office of the Secretary in Washington D.C., where he got to work with the White House and Obama’s direction for implementing  and improving environmental policy. Eric is currently the Associate Director in Environmental Policy Practice for WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff, splitting his time between their offices in Washington D.C. and California, where he provides strategic advice on environmental approvals for the firm building High-Speed Rail system in California. And that’s why Eric is a Hawk to Watch.

Tell us, in 140 characters or less, what you do for a living:

Leading the environmental policy practice at WSP USA, I provide strategic advice to major infrastructure clients on how to accelerate environmental approvals.

What do you feel is your biggest achievement so far?

Personally, it would be becoming a father and not being terrible at it.  Professionally, it would be the short stint I had serving in the Obama White House as an environmental policy advisor.  There is no equivalent to working in such an environment and the lessons learned during that experience have informed everything I’ve done professionally moving forward.

What’s your lowest career moment and how did you pick yourself up and move on?

I’ve been fortunate to not have had any truly terrible career moments.  There have been bumps in the road, for sure.  The most important thing you can do is to take the long view, understand that everything is a learning opportunity and that everyone makes mistakes.

Where do you hope to be in 10 years?

I was in public service at the state and federal level for 11 years before re-entering the private sector.  I think that I ultimately will want to return to public service and help drive environmental policy that promotes sustainability, resiliency and equity.

What do you know now that you wish you could tell your 18-year-old self?

Spend less time at the Hawk and more time engaging with fellow students across campus in activities that broaden your perspective.  I was a Lawrence kid who went to KU and lived off campus with friends from high-school.  It was great fun but it was a missed opportunity to challenge myself and move me out of my comfort zone.  Also, it took me a little longer to walk down the hill than it should have which my parents were none too happy about.

What’s your best career pro-tip?

Set boundaries early to protect “your” time.  I’ve been working “on-call” for years and if there is one thing that I wish I were better at it would be setting limits on “work” time versus “personal” time.  We are all accessible 24/7 thanks to technology and its easy for driven people to want to always engage to make sure they are on top of every email that comes through on their phone or tablet when away from the office.  But that wears on you, it distracts from the other important things in your life and can lead to burn out.  So, my pro-tip: take time for yourself to recharge, spend quality, uninterrupted time with friends and family, and know your limits.  Not everything is an emergency – that email can wait until tomorrow.

What do you do after you’ve clocked out?

Considering my pro-tip, I better have some good off the clock activities!  My weekends are spent with the family, running from swim class to dance class to sports camp to impromptu baseball/soccer/football games in the yard.  I’m raising the kids right though; they know the Rock Chalk chant and have already stated their intention to go to KU.

What is a fun fact about you that surprises people?

I’m part of a Big XII, bi-partisan marriage.  My wife is a Baylor grad who was a Bush 43 appointee.

Hawks to Watch are disrupters. They’re poised for greatness, inspiring their colleagues and excelling in their professions. Basically, they’re killing it. Having recently graduated, they are just starting to leave their mark and we can’t wait to see how their story unfolds. These Jayhawks span all industries including business, non-profits, tech, healthcare, media, law and the arts. 

Hawks to Watch: Sarah Stern

Mon, 11/06/2017 - 13:43

Why Sarah’s a Hawk to Watch:

Sarah Stern could have been considered a Hawks to Watch even while still an undergraduate at KU such were her achievements.  A fellowship from Kansas Paraguay Partners took her to Paraguay where she mastered Spanish and Portuguese and conducted a study of poor women’s experiences with microfinance programs.  A lifelong photography enthusiast, Stern also participated in the Paraguayan Carnaval Encarnaceno, somehow managing both to photograph the event and dance in it.  In a visit to Brazil, she collaborated with photographer Gary Mark Smith to create the photography book Favela da Rocinha, Brazil, a pictorial chronicle of life in that famous shantytown of Rio de Janeiro.  Proceeds to the book support community education projects in the favela. As a result of these and other accomplishments, Sarah was named one of Glamor Magazine’s Top 10 College Women of 2012.  After graduating with honors from KU, Sarah accepted a position as an Account Assistant for the Jeffrey Group, a Miami-based public relations agency that serves firms that do business in Latin America. At the Jeffrey Group, Sarah won a prestigious SABRE Award for her work promoting Spotify in Latin America. Now she works as the manager of Netflix’s Latin America consumer division. And that’s why Sarah is a Hawk to Watch.

Tell us, in 140 characters or less, what you do for a living:

I work with the media in Latin America to tell stories about Netflix.

What do you feel is your biggest achievement so far?

Finding a job that keeps me on my toes learning every day and allows me to combine my passion for travel and Latin America.

What’s your lowest career moment and how did you pick yourself up and move on?

I wouldn’t use the word low, but one of the hardest moments was starting my career, leaving Kansas to work in Miami where a lot of the Latin America work is. It’s hard to move somewhere completely new where you don’t know anyone and start at a new company, but it pushes you to grow, and there is a lot of learning in those moments. I worked a lot of long hours, asked a lot of questions and luckily had some KU connections that introduced me to Jayhawks living in Miami that later became great friends of mine.

Where do you hope to be in 10 years?

Still traveling. Maybe I’ll have found a winning idea to start a business of my own!

What’s your best career pro-tip?

What do you do after you’ve clocked out?

I’m outside as much as possible…usually finding something new to explore in LA.

What do you know now that you wish you could tell your 18-year-old self?

In all fairness, my j-school advisor Susanne Shaw did tell me, that if you’re going to work in PR or even Advertising, take an editing class. I wish I would have specialized in news or at least taken a few more news classes while I was in school.

What is a fun fact about you that surprises people?

I studied abroad in Paraguay and danced in Paraguayan Carnaval Encarnacen there.

Be like Sarah. Here’s more information on KU Center for Latin American & Caribbean Studies’ Bachelor of Arts degree in Latin American & Caribbean Studies

Hawks to Watch are disrupters. They’re poised for greatness, inspiring their colleagues and excelling in their professions. Basically, they’re killing it. Having recently graduated, they are just starting to leave their mark and we can’t wait to see how their story unfolds. These Jayhawks span all industries including business, non-profits, tech, healthcare, media, law and the arts. 

Warning: A KU Research Haunted House

Tue, 10/31/2017 - 09:23

Step through the creaky door of your imagination, and enter the KU College haunted house. Our faculty will guide you from room to room, where warring insects, shape-shifting vampires, ghosts and your darkest fears lurk. Enter if you dare.

Crypt of blood suckers:

A mist rises from Potter Lake, as a full moon emerges from behind the dark clouds. You’re sweating, but the air feels cool. At the top of the hill, where Strong Hall normally stands there’s a rickety wooden house. A single light flickers in the upstairs window. Are you dreaming? Battling through the fog, you follow a cobbled path to a stone crypt. A growling sound amplifies behind you. You shift the stone blocking the entrance to one side and slip-in, holding your breath. You’re safe for now. Creeeaaak, a wooden coffin in the corner swings open to reveal a blood sucker. To some, a brooding, young sexy Edward Cullen skulks out and flashes a pout.  To others, it’s an older man with almost translucent skin, slicked back black hair, baring two sharp pointy teeth. Or maybe you see an elderly skin-shedding woman, otherwise known as an soucouyant, loogaroo or old hag, readying for a night of flying and blood sucking. The world of vampires is as diverse as the human world, and it’s your fears that control what form they take. How do we know. Because of research by Giselle Liza Anatol, a KU associate professor of English, and Ani Kokobobo, assistant professor of Slavic languages and literatures.

Vampires aren’t just ‘Twilight’ sexy or ‘Dracula’ old, new book finds

From Slavic folklore to Sookie Stackhouse, new course will study vampire depiction in the East and West

Cellar of creepy crawlers:

A path takes you from the crypt to the house’s cellar. Spider webs cover the doorway, a low buzz greets you. As you enter, your eyes don’t adjust but you feel tiny legs and some slimy things crawling all over your body. A lit candle in the corner slowly brings the room to view, and it’s covered with insect larvae, beetles and bugs all squirming in different directions. In one corner, a red and white stink bug pierces a beetle larvae. In another, what first appears to be a damaged leaf begins to throb, revealing a cluster of larvae covered by the their own feces as they hide from would be killers. Lucky for you, the bugs are too small to wage war on you. So stop a moment, and think about how this warfare could help explain the mechanics of evolution by learning more about the research of Caroline Chaboo, assistant professor of ecology and evolutionary biology.

Biologists parse evolutionary ‘arms race’ between insects, predators and plants

A typewriter click-clacks in a study:

From the cellar, you climb a ladder up to a dusty old study. A red leather arm chair, a big oak desk where a typewriter sits. Silence. For a second. Then a click. Silence. And then a clack. Click clack, click clack. Faster and faster. An old three-pronged Gothic candle next to the typewriter sparks to life, and the keys bounce up and down, as if pressed by an invisible presence. Suddenly, a ghost emerges from the typewriters’ carriage and drifts towards a bookcase. More ghosts emerge and shriek passed your ears, one cuts right through your body sending chills. As you approach the typewriter, you see the name Peter Straub scratched into it’s body, as if with a knife. And you want to know the stories connecting Straub and these ghosts. Bang! A book falls off the bookcase, the spine shines in the light: “The Gothic Worlds of Peter Straub, by John C. Tibbetts, Associate Professor of Film Studies.”

New book examines America’s greatest ghost-story writer

It’s in your head:

You duck through a small archway, and a door slams behind you. The room is not much bigger than your body. Your shoulders touch each wall, the cold ceiling rests on the tip of your head. And it’s pitch black. You’re stuck, and the hours pass. Tick tock, tick tock. Time begins to melt. And your thoughts begin to take over. Death and decline swirl in your mind. You blame it on new technology. Social media is ruining the world. You long for the good old days, when life was simple. Is it just you who feels that way? “No”, says a voice. It’s Ani Kokobobo, assistant professor of Slavic languages and literatures. “Tolstoy, Chekhov and a bunch of Russia’s most notable 19th century writers had exactly the same problem.

Great 19th century Russian writers and Y2K scare influenced by same anxiety, scholar says

Jayhawks share internship advice

Fri, 10/27/2017 - 14:23

Students are increasing adding an internship to their College experience to increase their career prospects after graduation. According to a recent article in the New York Times, “internships have gone from nice-to-have-on-a-résumé to absolutely critical,” because employers now hire about 50 percent of their interns after graduation. Internships can be a direct route to a job at a company or organisation. They can also let you try out a career, build a network, establish mentors outside of College, earn college credit, acquire new skills, and gain vital experience in a professional environment. But how do you go about getting involved in an internship?

We sat down with five Jayhawks who’ve recently interned in different industries in the US and beyond to share their advice. From the Smithsonian museum, to the U.S. government, to a scientific research company in India, to a global advocacy organisation, to a newspaper in Germany, these students interned in a variety of industries and gained skills that’ll set them apart in the future. Here they offer their advice on how to get started and find the internship that’s right for you.

START EARLY, PAID INTERNSHIPS EXIST: 

Sandra Sanchez jetted off to Washington D.C. to spend the summer of 2017 interning at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. Majoring in history and Chinese language & literature, with a minor in indigenous studies, Sandra put her academics to work supporting a new exhibit focused on how America was created by different people of different backgrounds.

“Working here is an experience beyond KU,” Sandra said. “Learning about the vast collections of material available for research and seeing some of the behind-the-scenes work on object collection definitely is an invaluable experience as I look to continue my own research in graduate school. At NMAH there is a big emphasis on material culture and telling stories through objects that might not be considered important—like a lost pair of child’s tennis shoes found near the U.S.-Mexican border to illustrate one type of migration—so I can bring that focus to my own research and be as open-minded as I can be.

Her advice for finding internships is to start early. “It is imperative to start looking for possible opportunities as early as possible so that you can start preparing what criteria you might need (whether it is a class, language experience, etc.) and so you can begin planning financially (applying for scholarships or outside aid if needed.),” she said. “Think of different career paths you might be interested in and look for internships in those fields. Your internship doesn’t have to be what you’re going to do for the rest of your life and often having experience through an internship will help you decide whether or not you really want to work in that field.”

Few students can afford to work without pay. We get that. But it shouldn’t stop you interning. Sandra knew she needed to be find a paid internship so made sure that one came up, she was ready. “I had signed up for the mailing list from the Smithsonian Office of Fellowships & Internships quite a while ago, and was waiting for an opportunity for a paid internship to open up. One day, I opened my inbox and I saw there were applications open for the Minority Awards Program which would fund any internship across the Smithsonian Institution. From there, I researched with whom and where I wanted to work at and then applied.”Learn more about Sandra’s internship here.

THINK ABOUT WHERE YOU’D LIKE TO INTERN, CHECK THEIR SITE:

Trent Allen loves all things politics. At KU, he majors in political science and economics. And his commitment to public service grew more while attending events at the Dole Institute of Politics. So he asked himself: how do I turn my passion into a career? His answer: Apply for KU’s Washington D.C. internship program.

“I decided early on in the fall semester leading up to my internship that if I was going to learn about education policy implementation there would be nowhere better to work than the Department of Education, so I went on their website, found their internship page, and just applied!”

Trent’s internship is part of KU’s Washington, D.C. internship program, which helps students find an internship if they are unsure of the path they want to take. KU also has an agreement with an apartment complex in the D.C. area to provide housing which saves interns a lot of time and money; and there are also a few scholarships given out by KU to subsidize some of the costs.

Trent developed professional experience, and started building a professional network which will be invaluable when he graduates. “I gained valuable office experience by learning the skills it takes to be successful in an office setting. I also learned what I like and what I dislike about working in such a setting, which will be invaluable when I am looking for jobs after I graduate next year. Along with the experience I gained, though, I also met many individuals with similar interests who are serving as valuable mentors to me now, and will continue to do so after I leave the Department.” Learn more about Trent’s internship here.

KEEP OPEN TO OPPORTUNITIES, REACH OUT TO YOUR KU NETWORK:

While at KU, Kathleen Meeds chose majors that would allow her to pursue her passion for in German and English. She soon found herself on a once-in-a-lifetime adventure, interning at a newspaper in Eutin Germany, Lawrence’s sister city.

Kathleen’s path to an internship came out of nowhere. “Jimmy Morrison came into my German class last fall and spoke about interning in Eutin. He is a part of the German department and coordinates internships to Eutin. He said he could work with people studying in different areas, as long as they were also learning German.”

This experience helped Kathleen gain professional experience, while developing language skills. “My German really improved while I was there. Also, this was my first experience working in journalism, so I got to apply what I knew about writing already, while learning how to improve it there. Most of the tips and tricks I learned apply in English too!” Learn more about Kathleen’s internship here.

Sandra Sanchez adds that it is important to start asking around. “Ask your professors, your mentors, advisors—anyone! There are so many great opportunities that you may or may not stumble upon alone so if you expand your network then you’ll have a wider range of options.

PREPARE TO LIVE SOMEWHERE NEW, AND EMBRACE DIFFERENCE: 

Often an internship will be in a different city, state or country, maybe even somewhere you’ve never been. Before you go, spend time researching the place you’ll be living and working in advance. In the summer of 2017, Evin Smith wanted to put her economics and finance classes to work. She’d seen a research internship at the Center for Cellular and Molecular Platforms in Bangalore, India, advertised in an email from the KU School of Business two years previously. She applied, and was accepted.

Her advice is to prepare for the cultural differences of living and working in a different place. “India is a great country, but it is very different from the US and will take some time to get used to both physically and culturally, it takes time and patience but if you throw yourself at India and are willing to learn, India will be a phenomenal experience,” she said. “Living and working in India has been such a unique experience. Every day, I’m learning about different foods and customs. During my internship, I learned to adapt to and appreciate cultural differences. India is such a diverse country that has a long and rich history. I enjoyed learning about India from the locals and sampling all the amazing food!” Learn more about Evin’s internship here.

DO YOUR RESEARCH, AND APPLY:

Global-minded Elizabeth Orr spent last summer interning at the International Relations Council in Kansas City.

Double majoring in global & international studies and French, with a minor in economics, the experience helped translate passions developed in the classroom into a professional setting. “I have developed a greater understanding of how one can bring a knowledge of and a passion for global affairs to a professional setting,” she said. Adding, “I gained the ability to adapt quickly in a different environment and the ability to think critically about data and make judgements based on current market conditions. I have also obtained firsthand experience in the nonprofit sector and an understanding of the operations of a mission-driven organization. Finally, I have gained valuable professional event planning experience in this setting, as well.”

Elizabeth advises students to start early and do their research. “I would advise any student considering an internship to apply! Do some research about the organization and find what about it suits your interests and abilities. I found out about this internship and the International Relations Council through KU’s Global & International Studies Program. Through further research, I found the specific internship for which I was best suited. There is nothing to lose from applying, and everything to gain.” Learn more about Elizabeth’s internship here.

Liberal arts & sciences at work: Evin Smith in India

Wed, 10/25/2017 - 13:39

Hometown: Tribune, Kansas

Majors: Finance and Economics

Internship title and organization:

I am a research intern at the Center for Cellular and Molecular Platforms (C-CAMP)

 

What were your responsibilities during your internship? 

C-CAMP is an incubator for start-up companies that are in the life sciences field. I research the competitive landscapes and write reports for the scientist to use as a reference point as they decide to commercialize their research. My job is to figure out what the challenges for commercialization might be as well as what companies are currently researching and/or doing similar projects and how those companies will play into the future of the start-ups from an acquisition standpoint.

I worked on two projects, one deals with an immunomodulation therapy in HIV patients, and the second one was a device that does rapid antimicrobial resistance susceptibility testing. One of the biggest public health concerns for the future is the growing resistance to antibiotics in the general population, so this device is able to detect resistance before it becomes a problem and before antibiotics are even prescribed. This will help doctors more accurately treat patients according to the type of infection they have.

What was your favorite part(s) of the internship? 

I’m really enjoying learning about the biological background of my projects, it has been a long time since I’ve taken a science class, so learning about science again is a nice change from what I’ve been doing the past three years.

What did you gain from the experience that will be valuable to you in the future? 

How did you find out about this internship?

I actually heard about it through the B-School two years ago in an email and I have always wanted to do it.

What advice would you give students who are considering an internship?

India is a great country, but it is very different from the US and will take some time to get used to both physically and culturally, it takes time and patience but if you throw yourself at India and are willing to learn, India will be a phenomenal experience.

Why did you choose your majors/minors?

I decided to be a finance major first because I was interested in learning about how companies work from a technical standpoint, and I liked learning about financial markets. After my freshman year I chose to pursue economics as well for a few reasons, the main one being I liked how well it tied into finance and also it allowed me to look at the global economy from a broader viewpoint.

 

What do you plan to do next?

At the moment I am studying for the GRE and planning to apply to go to grad school and do my masters in applied economic analysis.

The best advice I ever got:

How do you recharge your batteries?

I’m a runner, so whenever I feel like I need a time out, putting in some music and going for a nice long run always helps me recover when I need it.

What motivates you?

I am most motivated when I’m working on something that will have a positive impact on my community and the world around me or when I’m doing something I really love.

Final Steps Towards Graduation

Tue, 10/24/2017 - 15:25

Written by: Precious Sanders, Graduation Advisor

It’s senior year! You know that graduation is around the corner, but you’re unsure of what final steps you need to take to get there. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you head down that final stretch towards earning your degree!

Be aware of deadlines:

One of the first things you will want to do is to read over the Graduation Information Sheet for the term in which you plan to graduate. These information sheets list a number of deadlines that you will want to be mindful of as you head down the final stretch towards graduation. These sheets can be found under “Graduation Paperwork” here, or you can pick one up in 109 Strong Hall.

Apply for graduation:

Simply finishing your requirements is not enough. Submitting your application for graduation is the trigger that lets your graduation advisor know that you plan to finish your
requirements and graduate in a given semester. You can apply for graduation through your Enroll & Pay account. Be sure to apply for the semester in which you plan to finish your degree requirements, not the semester in which you plan to walk in the ceremony. Check the appropriate graduation information sheet to find the application deadline.

Check your Academic Notices and email frequently:

When you apply for graduation, your graduation advisor will conduct a review of your academic record to make sure you are on track with your current enrollment. If there are any questions or concerns, you will receive an email from your advisor detailing those concerns and requesting your feedback. If everything appears on track for graduation, you will receive an Academic Notice. This is just one of many instances in which you might be contacted by the University regarding your requirements or other important steps towards graduation, so make sure that
you are checking both your email and your Notices regularly!

Do you have transfer credits?

You will always (I repeat: always) want to check course transferability through CredTran in order to verify that the classes you are taking at another institution will transfer to KU as the ones you need to fulfill your requirements. Remember that you must earn a C or better for a course to transfer to KU, and it is your responsibility to have your official transcript sent from that institution to KU’s Office of Admissions by the deadline of your graduation term.

Study Abroad, Incomplete Grades, and other outstanding coursework:

Keep in mind that you cannot have any outstanding coursework upon graduation. If you have outstanding study abroad coursework or incompletes you are working on, you must have grades posted for them by the deadline (check your info sheet!). Outstanding coursework could result in a delay of your graduation, so don’t procrastinate!

If you have any questions not addressed here, you can make an appointment with your graduation advisor by calling College Advising & Student Services at 785-864-3500 or stopping by 109 Strong Hall. Not sure who your graduation advisor is? You can find out by logging into your myKU Portal.

Meet Your Advisor: Shantae Coleman

Mon, 10/16/2017 - 09:13

College students get lots of cliché advice, such as “go to class,” “take advantage of office hours” and “meet with your advisor.” These sentiments are shared so often because they work. Meeting your advisor can be especially helpful for choosing a major or minor, finding internship or job opportunities, and overall making the most of your time in college.  Advisors are there to provide professional, unbiased advice and help students be successful, plus they’re pretty cool people.

Not sure who your advisor is? Find your academic advisor by logging in through your myKU portal.

Everything you need to know about Shantae (sort of)

Undergraduate Major: Psychology

I became an advisor because:

 

My soapbox: Use a planner, either physical or electronic.  They are definitely key to staying organized.

My favorite KU memory is … I’m still making memories as I haven’t been at KU for very long.  I’ll definitely remember my first day on campus. It immediately felt like home.

My best advice for college students:

What did you want to be when you were going up? I wanted to be a carpenter/handywoman. I even had my own toy tool set and went around “fixing” things.

My favorite place on campus is…  I’m still exploring but right now I love sitting on the Baumgartner Terrace outside of Hawks Nest at the Kansas Union.

My superpower would be: Time Control!

Get in touch with Shantae if you’re interested in studying History or English:

Conquer the Iron Throne with these 13 College classes

Thu, 10/12/2017 - 15:55

Who will claim the Iron Throne in the end? Cersei, Daenerys and Jon Snow seem the most likely human contenders, though the Night King and his newly acquired dragon might just defeat them all. Or maybe you could make a late bid by mastering the skills of persuasion, politics and the weather by taking these 13 College classes…

ATMO 220 Atmospheric Science – Unusual Weather

Winter has been coming for six whole seasons, though Jon Snow has had his fair share of time braving the snow in the North. But as the first snow begins to fall in Kings Landing, what’s behind this unusual weather system? Master this class, and you might be the savior of Westeros.

An introductory lecture course which surveys the general principles and techniques of atmospheric science and illustrates their application through discussions of natural but unusual weather phenomena such as blizzards, hurricanes, tornados, and chinooks, of the effects of air pollution on weather, and of intentional human alteration of the atmosphere. Satisfies: Goal 1 Outcome 1 (GE11) ,  Goal 3 Natural Sciences (GE3N) ,  N Natural Science (N) ,  NE Earth Sciences PC (NE)

POLS 562 Political Science – Women and Politics

Daenerys Targaryen is a fierce and just leader, winning loyalty for her belief in a fair, free and equal society from the Dothraki, unsullied and a group of unlikely allies along the way. Cersei Lannister rules by violence, political gaming, and money. Both are strong powerful women who’ve had to fight incredibly hard for their positions and for respect. Arya and Sansa Stark have also successfully navigated the tumultuous political waters of Westeros in their quest for survival and revenge. Learn about real life Daenarys, Cersei, Arya and Sansa in this class.

This course exposes students to contemporary research on women and politics by surveying the sub-fields of political science. Topics include women’s representation in the U.S., women and U.S. public policy, gender and legal theory, international women’s movements, women and revolution, and women as political elites. We will examine the ways in which feminist theory and women’s activism have challenged the narrow focus of the discipline as well as redefined women’s place in society. (Same as WGSS 562.) Prerequisite: Sophomore level or consent of the instructor. Satisfies: Goal 4 Outcome 1 (AE41) ,  S Social Science (S)

COMS 232 Communication Studies – The Rhetorical Tradition

How many times has Tyrion been in a tight spot? He’s been on trial by his own family, a prisoner in far-away lands and a confidente of some of the most powerful leaders. When he has to, Tyrion fights. But on the whole he uses his smarts and way with words to survive and thrive. Be more like Tyrion by learning the art of communication and persuasion.

Historical survey of theories of communication and persuasion, the people who produced them, and the philosophical assumptions upon which they rest. Beginning with the Greeks, especially Plato and Aristotle, and ending with selections from Kenneth Burke and other contemporary figures, the course focuses on changing concepts of rhetoric throughout a time span of some 2000 years. Prerequisite: COMS 130, COMS 150, or COMS 230. Satisfies: Goal 3 Arts and Humanities (GE3H) ,  H Humanities (H) ,  HR Philosophy & Religion PC (HR)

CLSX 168 Classics – Ancient Epic Tales

The Game of Thrones world is epic. There are seven kingdoms in Westeros alone. Not to mention the lands across the narrow sea and over the Wall. And many characters find themselves a long way from home. Daenerys travels from city to city, finding fame, fortune, and enslavement, as she tries to find her way home to Westeros. Epic journeys home are common in ancient poetry, and they are just as exciting as the travels of characters in Game of Thrones.

This course provides a survey of ancient epic poetry, focusing on literature from the Greek, Roman, and Mediterranean world. All readings will be in English; no knowledge of any ancient languages is required. The works selected will be ancient epic tales primarily from Greece, Rome and the Mediterranean world (e.g. Epic of Gilgamesh, Homer, Apollonius, Vergil, Ovid, Statius) though some ancient epics from other cultures may be used for comparative purposes (e.g. Beowulf, Popol Vuh, Mahabharata). Class discussion and assignments focus on understanding the ancient cultures and their relation to our own, evaluating the arguments of scholars, and creating well-reasoned written and oral arguments about ancient epics. Satisfies: Goal 4 Outcome 2 (AE42) ,  Goal 1 Outcome 1 (GE11) ,  Goal 3 Arts and Humanities (GE3H) ,  H Humanities (H) ,  HL Literature & the Arts PC (HL)

ANTH 160 Anthropology – Varieties of Human Experience

Wildling Ygritte and Jon Snow have a love and hate relationship. From prisoner, to love affair, to attempted murder, to watching Ygritte die in his arms, their feelings are about as extreme as they come. But much of the hatred in their relationship stems from a mistrust of other cultures. In their love, they bridge the long-held animosity between Wildlings and all south of the Wall, showing the possibility of appreciating cultural difference if one can overcome prejudice.

An introduction to basic concepts and themes in cultural anthropology by means of the comparative study of selected cultures from around the world, for the purpose of appreciating cultural diversity. Emphasis is on systems of belief and meaning. Not open to students who have taken ANTH 360. Satisfies: Goal 4 Outcome 2 (AE42) ,  Goal 3 Arts and Humanities (GE3H) ,  Goal 3 Social Sciences (GE3S) ,  NW Non-Western Culture (NW) ,  S Social Science (S) ,  World Culture (W)

GEOG 102 Geography – People, Place, and Society

Across the Game of Thrones universe there are noticeable differences in languages, clothes, food, and social customs? Each city or landscape seems to shape the people who live there, and their culture. How and why do the different environments in Game of Thrones shape the local populous?

An examination of the relationships between humans and their environments. The course introduces students to basic concepts in human geography relating to economic activities, landscapes, languages, migrations, nations, regions, and religions. Serves as the basis for further course work in cultural, economic, political, population, and urban geography. Satisfies: Goal 4 Outcome 2 (AE42) ,  Goal 3 Social Sciences (GE3S) ,  S Social Science (S) ,  SC Culture & Society PC (SC)

LING 320 Linguistics – Language in Culture and Society

When Daenerys first lives among the Dothraki she is alienated because she can’t communicate with husband-to-be Khal Drogo. The gruff tones of the Dothraki language sound aggressive and threatening, and the inability to communicate creates resentment. It even threatens her life. But once she masters the language, she is able to forge a bond with Drogo and eventually lead the nomadic horse-mounted warriors of Essos. Be like Daenerys, discover the importance of language.

Language is an integral part of culture and an essential means by which people carry out their social interactions with the members of their society. The course explores the role of language in everyday life of peoples in various parts of the world and the nature of the relationship between language and culture. Topics include world-view as reflected in language, formal vs. informal language, word taboo, and ethnography of speaking. (Same as ANTH 320.) Satisfies: Goal 4 Outcome 1 (AE41) ,  Goal 6 Outcome 1 (AE61) ,  S Social Science (S) ,  SC Culture & Society PC (SC)

PCS 120 Peace and Conflict Studies – Intro to Peace & Conflict Studies

Having three dragons on hand can be pretty helpful when negotiating peace with an enemy. But so too can skilled negotiation and compromise, as Tyrion knows well. If your ultimate aim is to unite the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros, knowing all the ways to find peace will prove key.

An introduction to the content and methods of peace studies. Peace studies is a multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary approach to the study of war and peace. Building on and integrating the work of various fields of study, the course examines the causes of structural and direct violence within and among societies and the diverse ways in which humans have sought peace, from conquest and balance of power to international organizations and nonviolent strategies. Satisfies: Goal 1 Outcome 1 (GE11) ,  Goal 3 Arts and Humanities (GE3H) ,  H Humanities (H) ,  HT Historical Studies PC (HT)

PHSX 594 Physics – Cosmology and Culture

Is it the Night King and his band of zombies that are bringing winter to Westeros? Or are cosmological forces at work? What is surprising is how little the Game of Thrones heroes and villains look up, to the sky, and examine the ways that the cosmos shapes their world. If you master this course, you might just learn a new explanation about why winter comes so infrequently in Westeros.

A survey of modern physical cosmology, its recent historical roots, and creation myths from many world cultures. An examination of the effects of these stories on their parent cultures. Satisfies: Goal 4 Outcome 2 (AE42) ,  N Natural Science (N)

METL 515 Metalsmithing/Jewelry (METL) – Advanced Metals I

Will a gentle and humble working-class blacksmith win the Iron Throne in the end? Gendry is an outside bet, but he is an heir to the throne as Robert Baratheon’s son. If he does take power, it will probably be due to his metal work skills making swords. Be like Gendry, learn to metalsmith.

Emphasis on individual design aesthetic through intensive designing, rendering, and modelmaking as preparation for fabricated pieces of jewelry, holloware, and/or small objects; capstone experience. Prerequisite: METL 362. Satisfies: Goal 6 Outcome 1 (AE61) ,  H Humanities (H)

GIST 686 Global & International Studies – International Human Rights

Sadistic Ramsay Bolton is probably the premier torturer of the Game of Thrones universe. Cersei comes close, but Ramsey is a next level piece of work. Both Theon and Sansa feel his hate, and Sansa eventually gets revenge. The violent mistreatment of humans could be avoided if there was a human rights body governing Westeros. Learn how to think about the challenges and theories of human rights, and be prepared to take a real-life Ramsay Bolton to the Hague with this class.

The course introduces students to historical and philosophical bases of contemporary human rights, theoretical approaches and methodological challenges to studying human rights questions, and acquaints them with the main topics, controversies, and tensions in the scholarship, practice and politics of human rights. (Same as POLS 686.) Prerequisite: Sophomore level or consent of instructor is required. Satisfies: Goal 4 Outcome 2 (AE42) ,  S Social Science (S)

GEOL 351 Geology – Environmental Geology

Why is the North so sparsely settled? The weather doesn’t help, that’s for sure. But neither does the landscape. Avalanches on those mountains are a hazard, as are frozen lakes that constantly threaten to thaw and swallow you up. Perhaps the Night King’s real motivation to take his army of white walkers south isn’t the Iron Throne, but the need to find land and resources so his icy mob can settle down.

An introductory course dealing with the implications of geologic processes and materials for civilization. Topics to be considered include: geologic hazards such as floods, landslides, earthquakes, and volcanism; the availability of water, mineral, and energy resources; and the environmental impact of resource utilization. The importance of recognizing geologic constraints in land use planning and engineering projects is emphasized and illustrated by examples. Satisfies: Goal 3 Natural Sciences (GE3N) ,  N Natural Science (N) ,  NE Earth Sciences PC (NE)

ENGL 507 English – Science, Technology & Society

Cersei might have Jaime ‘Kingslayer’ Lannister by her side, but it’s the silent work of Maester Qyburn that gives her a technological advantage over the others. The mastermind behind the use of wildfire in warfare, the Frankensteinal Mountain, and a new weapon that can even take down a dragon, it’s a scientist and inventor that’s keeping Cersei in power.

Science and technology offer many benefits to individuals and to societies, yet they also present many challenges. This course explores the past, present, and possible future effects of science and technology on society through readings and discussions of nonfiction articles in conjunction with science-fiction stories and novels. Capstone course. Prerequisite: Prior completion of at least one 300- or 400-level English course. Satisfies: Goal 6 Outcome 1 (AE61) ,  H Humanities (H)

Tyan Fairbank, biologist and social media guru

Wed, 10/11/2017 - 07:23

Major: B.S. biology

What would you tell your freshman self?

I transferred to KU sophomore year and attended a community college before, but I would tell myself to get involved in campus organizations early!

What is the benefit of being in the College, studying alongside students studying sciences, arts and humanities?

I think the benefit of being alongside students of so many academic majors is that you really get a sense of everything there is to offer at KU. It adds multiple perspectives on questions, and you learn to see perspectives from every angle possible.

What has been your favorite class at KU? And why?

What’s your favorite part of campus?

What do you want to do when you graduate?

I recently decided to take a gap year, but after that year is over the main goal is to attend med school.

What’s your best KU memory? My favorite memory is probably seeing students win $10,000 from Bill Self for two years in a row. Last year, the guy that was chosen for the contest was sitting in the row behind me.

How do you recharge your batteries? A face mask and a night of Netflix definitely does the trick. I also have a playlist for when I’m stressed out that I listen to!

What motivates you? My family. I just want to make them proud.

9 reasons why you should study the liberal arts & sciences

Mon, 10/09/2017 - 15:37

The president of Colombia, the former chair of the FDIC, a top executive at Sesame Street and a MacArthur genius all have something in common. Successful careers and accomplishments, sure. But they also all earned degrees from the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences at KU. So, what’s in a liberal arts and sciences degree that helped them not only get jobs, but launch successful careers?

Here’s 9 key reasons why you should study the liberal arts & sciences:

1. You learn how to think:

With a liberal arts and sciences education, you learn to think critically, creatively, and analytically.  Rather than taking everything presented to you at face value, you learn to delve into the whats, whys, and hows of the world.  How will this project improve my company?  Is there a better way?  What are this politician’s true motives?  Why should I vote for him or her?  You learn how to challenge all preconceived notions about what is “best,” and you become a fully-functioning, interactive member of society, rather than another sheep in the flock.

2. You learn how to communicate:

In a liberal arts and sciences environment, you learn how to express ideas, both verbally and on paper.  And if you learn a foreign language, that’s even more appealing.  The ability to communicate effectively is a skill that becomes absolutely crucial both in the workforce and in everyday life.  Besides, nobody wants to be “that guy” in the office who can’t even construct a proper sentence in his emails.

3. It’s flexible!

We no longer live in a world where an individual finishes school and then works for the same company until retirement 40 years later (okay, some folks still do this, but it’s becoming rarer and rarer).  With a liberal arts education, you develop a broad-based foundation of knowledge on which you can build a variety of skills.  Earning that history degree doesn’t mean you must become a professor or work in a museum.  The critical thinking skills that you gain can be adapted to a wide range of careers.

4. It’s appealing to employers.

It ties into that ability to think and communicate.  Employers value people who can develop and take charge of projects.  This means not only constructing the project itself, but also anticipating any potential roadblocks or challenges and being able to communicate effectively with a team of people to carry out the necessary steps.  Still not convinced?  According to a survey conducted by the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U), 93% of employers believe that “a demonstrated capacity to think critically, communicate clearly, and solve complex problems is more important than [a candidate’s] undergraduate major.” (http://www.aacu.org/press/press-releases/employers-more-interested-critical-thinking-and-problem-solving-college-major)

5. It provides a solid foundation for grad school.

The development of critical thinking skills is a crucial component to graduate study, and an undergraduate degree in a liberal arts and sciences field can provide a head start where that’s concerned.  What’s more, a liberal arts and sciences degree proves that you have the ability to learn across a diverse field of studies, which also provides a foundation of knowledge to go straight into graduate study in any subject you might choose.

6. You can follow your passion.

 The College of Liberal Arts & Sciences offers more than 50 different majors in a wide range of fields, including sciences like biology and physics, social sciences like economics and psychology, humanities like English and history, and various foreign languages and area studies.  With such a broad selection to choose from, you would be hard-pressed not to find a major that captures your interest.  Can’t choose just one?  Don’t worry — the flexibility of the KU Core has made it easier than ever to pursue multiple areas of study.

7. You become a citizen of the world.

Globalization is making it less and less possible to get by just knowing the customs and traditions of your local community.  If you work in business or technology, your career will almost inevitably involve interacting with other cultures and maybe even other countries.  Even if you opt to spend the rest of your life in a small town, chances are good that you will find yourself interacting with someone from a different background.  The liberal arts and sciences exposes you to a variety of cultures and ways of thinking and they help you to keep an open mind when you encounter something new or unexpected.

8. You get to know yourself better:

You will find yourself asking questions of yourself and exploring a broad spectrum of ideas well outside of your comfort zone.  You will learn to think abstractly and to consider a wide range of perspectives on many issues.  You will be able to place things into a broader context, and you may even be challenged to consider your own role within that context.  Embrace it!  You just might discover something about yourself that you had never realized before.give

9. Our alumni say so, and they excel:

Who knows better than our #CLASof2017 why studying in the College of liberal arts & sciences is the best? Check out these Jayhawks reflecting on the small classes, the huge variety of subjects available, and the flexibility to pursue more than passion.

In the words of one recent alumni, “studying in the College gives you the opportunity to do anything you want to do.” Don’t believe us? Check out our Hawks to Watch, a group of alumni who are killing it in their careers at Disney, Pitchfork, the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art, the Library of Congress, and more.

Liberal arts & sciences at work: Elizabeth Orr

Thu, 10/05/2017 - 09:02

Hometown: Westwood, KS

Majors: Global & international studies and French, minor in economics

Internship title and organization: Events Intern at the International Relations Council

What were your responsibilities during your internship? I help coordinate the logistics and execution of a variety of events and programs that engage community members in international affairs. I am also responsible for conducting researching and developing resources that will facilitate event planning in the future.

What was your favorite part(s) of the internship? My favorite part of the internship has been the opportunity to attend and assist with events and programs. These programs, such as lectures on international relations, panels regarding global affairs, and educational workshops, are interesting from an international academic perspective and have given me the opportunity to learn how to successfully execute a professional event as well. Participating has also given me the opportunity to engage with a wide variety of people. Overall, I have loved being able to help promote global awareness in the Kansas City community.

What did you gain from the experience that will be valuable to you in the future? I have developed a greater understanding of how one can bring a knowledge of and a passion for global affairs to a professional setting. I have also obtained firsthand experience in the nonprofit sector and an understanding of the operations of a mission-driven organization. Finally, I have gained valuable professional event planning experience in this setting, as well.

 How did you find out about this internship? I found out about this internship and the International Relations Council through KU’s Global & International Studies Program. Through further research, I found the specific internship for which I was best suited.

What advice would you give students who are considering an internship? I would advise any student considering an internship to apply! Do some research about the organization and find what about it suits your interests and abilities. There is nothing to lose from applying, and everything to gain.

Why did you choose your majors/minors? An interest in international affairs and a lifelong love of travel inspired me to learn more about the world and prompted me to initially choose to major in global & international studies. This major gave me the opportunity to take a variety of courses that offer different perspectives about our globalized world. My study abroad experience in Angers, France, prompted me to add French as a second major. Finally, after having taken some introductory courses, I developed an interest in economics, so I chose to add economics as a minor, as well.

KU Study Abroad Office can help you study spend the semester in Angers, France, studying French language, literature and civilization at the Université Catholique de l’Ouest.

What do you plan to do next? This year, I plan to do research for an Honors Capstone for my Global & International Studies degree as well as write an Honors Thesis in French. Following graduation, I plan to seek an internationally-focused job before likely attending graduate school in the future. In the long term, I hope to work towards an international career.

 What do you like best about studying in the College? The College of Liberal Arts & Sciences at KU has given me the opportunity to take a wide variety of interdisciplinary courses that have broadened my worldview and perspectives. I have been very fortunate to have knowledgeable and devoted professors who have shaped my collegiate experience, as well.

My favorite KU memory is… While it is too difficult to choose just one favorite memory, KU has given me a number of fantastic opportunities. From serving as an executive officer in Alpha Gamma Delta to singing in one of KU’s choirs to starting the KU French Club, KU’s broad spectrum of networks has been extremely influential in my college experience. Additionally, though I was not in Lawrence, studying abroad has been my favorite experience that KU has provided me. My semester in Angers, France, not only taught me fluency in the French language and an ability to adapt to new situations in foreign countries, but gave me lifelong memories and relationships.

 The best advice I ever got: 

Hawks to Watch: Stephanie Stillo

Wed, 10/04/2017 - 12:38
Why Stephanie’s a Hawk to Watch:

Imagine a job that transports you to a distant, sometimes magical world every single day. You’ll discover fantastic beasts, long-lost languages, and entirely new ways of thinking about the world and our place in it. Nope, we’re not talking about Dr Who, this job exists and is currently being performed by College alum Stephanie Stillo, curator of some of the country’s rarest material at the Library of Congress. Stephanie graduated from KU with a PhD in Modern History in 2014. During her time here she cultivated several digital humanities projects that helped her stand apart when she entered the highly competitive academic job market in her field. She landed a postdoc teaching history and digital humanities at Washington and Lee University in Virginia, before moving on to her current prestigious role at our country’s national library. And that’s why Stephanie’s our October Hawk to Watch.

Introducing:

 

Tell us what you do for a living:

I curate the Lessing J. Rosenwald Graphic Arts Collection at the Library of Congress. The collection holds some of the country’s most rare printed books from the last six centuries, with major concentrations in fifteenth-century printed books (incunabula), William Blake material, and important livres d’artiste of the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The collection has thematic concentrations in the history of printing, historic illustration processes, science and medicine, and decorative arts.

My day-to-day is largely devoted to working with visiting scholars and artists. However, I also plan exhibitions, conferences, and formal and informal talks about topics ranging from fifteenth-century woodcuts to how to best handle a rare book. I also act as a Purchasing Officer for the Library of Congress, meaning I work with antiquarian books dealers to find rare materials that complement the items in the Rosenwald Collection.

What do you feel is your biggest achievement so far?

I was recently part of a team that organized the largest exhibit of material ever put on display at the Library of Congress. The event was in honor of a prestigious group of visiting bibliophiles, the Association internationale de bibliophilie. The exhibit presented hundreds items, including books by Galileo, William Blake, Picasso and many contemporary book artists. We also displayed wondrously rare maps, prints, and manuscripts including a 1540 land map from colonial Mexico, Thomas Jefferson’s rough draft of the Declaration of Independence, and a page from Frederick Douglas’ memoirs describing his escape from slavery. It was a singular privilege to be able to share that much history.

What’s your lowest career moment and how did you pick yourself up and move on?

I had a fabulous two-year postdoc appointment teaching history and digital humanities at Washington and Lee University in Virginia. My colleagues were marvelous and the students were utterly brilliant. However, I was constantly vexed by the question of “what’s next.”  I had several great interviews, but nothing seems to fully materialize. I think the only way to get through these inevitable moments is a good bottle of scotch and the determination to get up the next day and try again. It’s frustrating, but I like to think that it gave me a permanent sense of humility and a genuine appreciation for what came next.

Where do you hope to be in 10 years?

What do you know now that you wish you could tell your 18-year-old self?

What’s your best career pro-tip?

Take risks that will make you stand out on the job market. There are small armies of PhDs looking for jobs in Washington, DC. Luckily I had cultivated several projects in digital humanities that helped me stand apart. These projects often meant I was overloading during my graduate career. However, they made all the difference when I hit the job market.

How did your College of Liberal Arts & Sciences degree prepare you for your career?

KU’s History Department placed a tremendous emphasis on writing. Being able to write clearly and to multiple audiences is one of the most useful and valued skills I cultivated at the University of Kansas. In this way, my degree prepared me very well for a job that is fundamentally rooted in interpreting complex ideas to audiences that often have no context or frame of reference. Never underestimate how important it is to communicate effectively.

My degree also taught me to be sensitive to researchers working with heady theoretical frameworks, such as global and environmental history, transatlanticism, queer theory, and digital humanities. It is important that researchers have someone that can not only lead them to resources, but can (at least try) to understand their methodology. Making that connection with a researcher – and becoming a touchstone for their research – is very rewarding.

What do you do after you’ve clocked out?

I’ll let you know once it happens.

What is a fun fact about you that surprises people?

I’m totally obsessed with 1970s and 80s science fiction movies. I think the future through the lens of the past is totally fascinating.

Hawks to Watch are disrupters. They’re poised for greatness, inspiring their colleagues and excelling in their professions. Basically, they’re killing it. Having recently graduated, they are just starting to leave their mark and we can’t wait to see how their story unfolds. These Jayhawks span all industries including business, non-profits, tech, healthcare, media, law and the arts. 

Know a Hawk to Watch we should feature? Tell us!

Liberal arts & sciences at work: Elizabeth Orr

Mon, 10/02/2017 - 11:10

Hometown: Westwood, KS

Majors: Global & international studies and French, minor in economics

Internship title and organization: Events Intern at the International Relations Council

What were your responsibilities during your internship? I help coordinate the logistics and execution of a variety of events and programs that engage community members in international affairs. I am also responsible for conducting researching and developing resources that will facilitate event planning in the future.

What was your favorite part(s) of the internship? My favorite part of the internship has been the opportunity to attend and assist with events and programs. These programs, such as lectures on international relations, panels regarding global affairs, and educational workshops, are interesting from an international academic perspective and have given me the opportunity to learn how to successfully execute a professional event as well. Participating has also given me the opportunity to engage with a wide variety of people. Overall, I have loved being able to help promote global awareness in the Kansas City community.

What did you gain from the experience that will be valuable to you in the future? I have developed a greater understanding of how one can bring a knowledge of and a passion for global affairs to a professional setting. I have also obtained firsthand experience in the nonprofit sector and an understanding of the operations of a mission-driven organization. Finally, I have gained valuable professional event planning experience in this setting, as well.

 How did you find out about this internship? I found out about this internship and the International Relations Council through KU’s Global & International Studies Program. Through further research, I found the specific internship for which I was best suited.

 What advice would you give students who are considering an internship? I would advise any student considering an internship to apply! Do some research about the organization and find what about it suits your interests and abilities. There is nothing to lose from applying, and everything to gain.

Why did you choose your majors/minors? An interest in international affairs and a lifelong love of travel inspired me to learn more about the world and prompted me to initially choose to major in global & international studies. This major gave me the opportunity to take a variety of courses that offer different perspectives about our globalized world. My study abroad experience in Angers, France, prompted me to add French as a second major. Finally, after having taken some introductory courses, I developed an interest in economics, so I chose to add economics as a minor, as well.

KU Study Abroad Office can help you study spend the semester in Angers, France, studying French language, literature and civilization at the Université Catholique de l’Ouest.

 What do you plan to do next? This year, I plan to do research for an Honors Capstone for my Global & International Studies degree as well as write an Honors Thesis in French. Following graduation, I plan to seek an internationally-focused job before likely attending graduate school in the future. In the long term, I hope to work towards an international career.

 What do you like best about studying in the College? The College of Liberal Arts & Sciences at KU has given me the opportunity to take a wide variety of interdisciplinary courses that have broadened my worldview and perspectives. I have been very fortunate to have knowledgeable and devoted professors who have shaped my collegiate experience, as well.

My favorite KU memory is… While it is too difficult to choose just one favorite memory, KU has given me a number of fantastic opportunities. From serving as an executive officer in Alpha Gamma Delta to singing in one of KU’s choirs to starting the KU French Club, KU’s broad spectrum of networks has been extremely influential in my college experience. Additionally, though I was not in Lawrence, studying abroad has been my favorite experience that KU has provided me. My semester in Angers, France, not only taught me fluency in the French language and an ability to adapt to new situations in foreign countries, but gave me lifelong memories and relationships.

 The best advice I ever got: