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Chancellor’s Doctoral Fellowship supports graduate students

Friday, December 09, 2016

LAWRENCE — Twelve doctoral students at the University of Kansas are conducting world-class research with support from to the Chancellor’s Doctoral Fellowships. Established in 2013 by Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little, the funding provides a stipend of $25,000 per year and pays tuition and fees for up to five years.

Alongside financial support, recipients also have reduced work responsibilities during their first year of study and their final dissertation year, when fellows are appointed as graduate research assistants. This frees time for students so they can focus on conducting research and quickly completing their doctorate. Graduate programs provide support in the form of a graduate teaching assistantship (GTA), GRA or other opportunities during the middle years of their studies.

The 2016 Chancellor’s Doctoral Fellows are enrolled in KU’s School of Music, School of Engineering, School of Education and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Each school and the College work with their graduate programs to award the fellowships to recruit high-achieving incoming students.

Naheed Abdulrahim and Inna Stepaniuk are studying in KU’s Special Education program, ranked No. 1 in the country. Both were attracted to the program’s world-class reputation and academic resources, including multiple research centers and significant research grants. The funding made it possible for them to attend KU.

Alyssa Cole will continue the research she began while an undergraduate student at KU. A McNair Scholar who introduced President Barack Obama when he visited campus, Cole’s research combines African-American studies and military history to examine the contributions of African-American women to the armed services.

Tanya Walkenbach, seeking a Ph.D. in civil engineering, returned to graduate school after years of working as a professional engineer. Being a Chancellor’s Doctoral Fellow allows her to work toward “creating higher-level solutions that will improve” the field.

“My goal,” she said, “is to be a part of that tomorrow through both research and the teaching of students that will become the future generations” of engineers.

“The Chancellor’s Doctoral Fellowships attract top quality graduate students to learn and conduct cutting edge scholarship with the superb KU faculty,” said Michael Roberts, dean of graduate studies. “The positive influence and contributions of these rising scholars in graduate studies will be appreciated for many years to come.”

The 2016 Chancellor’s Doctoral Fellows:

  • Naheed Abdulrahim, special education
  • Alyssa Cole, history
  • Matt Ferrandino, music theory
  • Alysha Griffin, theatre
  • Seungjoo Lee, Spanish
  • Austin McGuire, clinical child psychology
  • Alisa Russell, English
  • Inna Stepaniuk, special education
  • Ankit Verma, chemical and petroleum engineering
  • Tanya Walkenbach, civil engineering
  • Yuyu Zeng, linguistics.

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