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Source: Jonathan Mertz, 785-341-4173,

Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2009


MANHATTAN -- Two Kansas State University students are each receiving the $500 Praxis Scholarship from the Flint Hills Human Rights Project.

Recipients are Dusty Garner, senior in political science, Andover, and Russell J. Webster, doctoral student in psychology, Shorewood, Ill.

The Praxis Scholarship seeks to reward college students, both undergraduate and graduate, who have demonstrated positive reaffirmation for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, intersex and questioning community through their service, artistic, academic/research, activism or advocacy efforts. Recipients of the scholarship must attend a college or university in the Flint Hills region and meet academic requirements.

"We were very pleased by the high quality applications," said Jonathan Mertz, chair of the Flint Hills Human Rights Project board. "Each of our awardees will clearly continue to be leaders in the community."

Garner began his activism after becoming the victim of a hate crime. He has been active in community service in several cities across the country, focusing on HIV prevention and support for young gay men. At K-State he has served as chapter president of Delta Lambda Phi, a fraternity for gay, bisexual and progressive men, and worked to establish a lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, intersex and questioning resource center. He is currently president of K-State's newly formed student organization, LGBTQ and More.

Webster researches prejudice toward gay men and lesbians. He has presented papers on the topic at conferences around the country and his work is under review for publication. Webster has been involved in lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered community activities since he was a master's student at Ball State University. Since coming to K-State, Webster has been involved in Flint Hills Pride, serving on its board, designing its logo and working to encourage more K-State students to get involved with the organization.