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Sources: Dena Bunnel, denab@k-state.edu;
and Jim Hohenbary, 785-532-6904, jimlth@k-state.edu
Pronouncer: Bunnel rhymes with tunnel
Photo available. Contact media@k-state.edu or 785-532-6415.
News release prepared by: Kristin Hodges, 785-532-6415, khodges2@k-state.edu

Friday, March 27, 2009

K-STATE SENIOR FROM WELDA IS UNIVERSITY'S 31st TRUMAN SCHOLAR

MANHATTAN -- Kansas State University student Dena Bunnel is K-State's 31st Harry S. Truman Scholarship winner.

Dena BunnelBunnel, Welda, is a senior in political science and agricultural communications and journalism. As a 2009 Truman scholar, she will receive up to $30,000 for graduate studies toward a career in public service.

"We're so proud of our newest Truman scholar Dena Bunnel," said K-State President Jon Wefald. "She carries on the tradition of K-State excellence in the Truman Scholarship competition. Dena has been involved throughout the university and is a promising future leader in public service and sustainable agriculture."

K-State ranks first in the nation among public universities in producing Truman scholars, and Bunnel's award brings the university's total to 31 and one alternate since the first scholarships were awarded in 1977. K-State is sixth among all 2,000 four-year colleges in America, 500 state and 1,500 private.

Bunnel was among 60 scholarship winners selected by the Truman Foundation. She was one of 194 finalists from 136 institutions in the scholarship competition that included an extensive application and interview process, said Jim Hohenbary, K-State assistant dean for nationally competitive scholarships.

The scholarship will assist Bunnel in her career in sustainable agriculture, where she will pursue graduate studies in international agriculture and rural development. She plans a career working as a project designer or manager for agriculture development programs in low-income countries. Specifically, she would like to work in Africa with extension programs promoting sustainable agriculture practices.

"I recognize the importance of agricultural production, especially in developing countries where the majority of people work in agriculture and the majority of a family's income goes toward food," Bunnel said. "Increased production is important because we have to feed our rapidly growing populations, and sustainable production is equally important because the earth isn't getting any bigger, so we have to farm the land we have for a very long time."

Bunnel's interest in agriculture stems from being raised on a dairy farm, she said. In addition, she has interned with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service and with the U.S. Agency for International Development.

She said the internships are where she became interested in international and conservation affairs and how they relate to agriculture.

She also has studied abroad in China, where she said witnessing extreme poverty solidified her desire to work in international development.

Bunnel is a member of Blue Key Senior Honor Society, the K-State Student Alumni Board, the Collegiate Farm Bureau and the K-State Proud advisory board. She also is a member of the K-State Women's Fastpitch Softball Club and a former vice president and treasurer of Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow. She has been a K-State College of Agriculture Student of the Month and a Kansas Farm Bureau Discussion Meet winner.

Bunnel has received the Kansas State University Foundation Scholarship, the Lou Douglas Scholarship and a Political Science Departmental Excellence Award.

A 2005 graduate of Anderson County High School, she is the daughter of Russell and Margie Bunnel.

Truman scholars are selected primarily on the basis of leadership potential and communication skills, intellectual strength and analytical ability, and likelihood of making a difference in public service.