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Downs RA one of six nominated for prestigious scholarship

Friday, October 11, 2019

The University of Kansas has endorsed applications from five students and a recent graduate applying for prestigious fellowships for study in the United Kingdom and Ireland. 

Kara Fort, a Resident Assistant at Downs Residence Hall, is an applicant for the Mitchell Scholarship which would provide funding for one year of study in Ireland. She is the daughter of Richard Fort and Susan Fort of Lansing, and she is a graduate of Lansing High School. Majoring in political science and communication studies, Fort is a member of the University Honors Program and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa as a junior. Fort was selected for the first cohort of the Intelligence Community Center for Academic Excellence Scholars at KU, and subsequently, she was chosen for a special course on Nigeria sponsored by the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command as an e-intern. She also served as a research intern with the KU School of Public Affairs & Administration and as a national security and intelligence intern with the Institute for the Study of War. She is a member of Omega Phi Alpha service sorority and is serving as president of Lambda Pi Eta communication studies honor society. Since 2017 she has worked as a resident assistant and desk assistant in KU Student Housing. 

Fort, Alex Murray and Samiyah Para-Cremer are applying for the Mitchell Scholarship. These three and Saif Bajwa, Kaitlyn Johnson and Sam Steuart are applying for the Marshall Scholarship and the Rhodes Scholarship. The Mitchell Scholarship provides funding for one year of study in Ireland. Marshall Scholarships provide funding for graduate study at any university in the United Kingdom, and the Rhodes Scholarship provides expenses for one to three years of study at the University of Oxford in England.  

Regional panels review applications for both the Rhodes and Marshall scholarship programs. Finalists for the Rhodes and Marshall are invited to participate in interviews in November. The Mitchell Scholarship has a first-round video interview before finalist interviews in November. Applicants for the Marshall and Mitchell scholarships must be U.S. citizens; the Rhodes Scholarship has 20 constituencies around the world, including the United States and Canada, as well as a new Global Rhodes Scholarship program.  

The Office of Fellowships, a unit of Undergraduate Studies, coordinates KU's endorsement process and supports candidates through the application process. Students interested in applying for these awards in future years are encouraged to contact the office by email at fellowships@ku.edu.  

KU students have previously won nine Marshall and 27 Rhodes scholarships. Last year Kathryn Ammon became the first KU student to be named a Mitchell Scholar. She is studying at University College Dublin.  

Saif Bajwa is the son of Abid Bajwa and Shazia Bajwa of Overland Park and a graduate of Blue Valley West High School. A major in political science with a minor in economics, Bajwa is also a member of the University Honors Program and was selected as a sophomore for the competitive University Scholars Program. Bajwa has served on a variety of political campaigns and worked in constituent services for Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly. He has been active on campus with Student Senate, the Student Legislative Awareness Board and the Dole Institute of Politics. A former member of the KU Debate squad, Bajwa has also worked as a debate coach and tutor. Last year he volunteered as an English instructor at the Government High School in Mohlanwal, Pakistan. 

Kaitlyn Johnson is the daughter of Christopher and Cynthia Johnson of Lawrence and is a graduate of Free State High School. Johnson graduated from KU in 2018 with a quadruple major in global & international studies, political science, Russian & East European studies and Slavic languages & literatures. Johnson is in a Foreign Service Master of Science program at Georgetown University. At KU, she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, received honors in all four majors, completed the University Honors Program and was recognized at Commencement with the Class of 1913 University Award. Johnson studied abroad at St. Petersburg University in Russia and more recently received the Critical Language Scholarship to study Russian in Georgia. Her involvement at KU encompassed Omega Phi Alpha service sorority, the KU Undergraduate Research Journal for the Humanities, KU Marching Jayhawks and Jayhawks Without Borders. She has held internships with several think tanks and is currently serving as a Pulitzer Center International Reporting Fellow.  

Alex Murray is the son of Craig Murray and Sherrie Murray of Lawrence and is a graduate of Olathe Northwest High School. A double major in finance and environmental studies, Murray has been involved with initiatives focused on interdisciplinary approaches to climate change. A member of the University Honors Program, Murray was selected as a sophomore for the competitive University Scholars Program. Murray has also been involved with the Business Leadership Program, Net Impact and the Student Environmental Advisory Board through Student Senate. He spent a summer studying abroad at Hong Kong University. He is the co-founder and president of the KU Beekeeping Club. He serves on the Student Advisory Board and as a discussion groups coordinator at the Dole Institute of Politics. 

Samiyah Para-Cremer is the daughter of Mahin Para-Cremer and James Para-Cremer of Mukwonago, Wisconsin, and is a graduate of Mukwonago High School. A triple major in applied behavioral science, law & society and Spanish, Para-Cremer is a member of the University Honors Program and was selected as a sophomore for the competitive University Scholars Program. She was elected as a junior to Phi Beta Kappa. Para-Cremer has been involved in undergraduate research since her freshman year, working with a variety of organizations, and twice received Undergraduate Research Awards for her own research projects on anti-human trafficking task forces. She has held internships with Kansas Appleseed, volunteered with a variety of organizations, including the Lawrence Public Library, Plymouth Language Program and Global Brigades at KU, ThrYve in Kansas City and the TECHO program at the University of San Andrés in Victoria, Argentina, while she was studying abroad.  

Sam Steuart is the son of Renae and Jim Steuart of Topeka and a graduate of Shawnee Heights High School. A double major in American studies and biochemistry with a minor in Spanish, Steuart is a member of the University Honors Program, was selected as a sophomore for the competitive University Scholars Program and as a junior he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. In April he was named a Truman Scholar. Steuart is the executive director for the Center for Community Outreach, where he previously served as program coordinator and development director. He completed a medical internship in Spain and studied abroad on programs in Costa Rica and England. He has done research since 2017 in the lab of Cindy Berrie, KU associate professor of chemistry, and since 2018 with Vincent Francisco, Kansas Health Foundation Professor of Applied Behavioral Science. Over the summer he completed an internship on School Student Health Clinics at the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

More than $200,000 in annual scholarships to returning residents
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5,100 residents choose student housing each year
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