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K-State Today

June 4, 2012



Great expectations: Alumni Association recognizes students for excellence

By Communications and Marketing

Outstanding academics, leadership, inspiration and service have earned six Kansas State University students honors from the K-State Alumni Association.

The honors include four new university graduates who have earned the Anderson Senior Awards, which recognize outstanding achievements during their college careers. Faculty and peers nominate students for the award.

The alumni association also recognized two graduate students with its Graduate Student Award. A committee consisting of members of the alumni association board of directors and K-State students selected the winning candidates.

Amy Button Renz, association president and CEO, presented the students with plaques at a recent awards luncheon at the K-State Alumni Center.

"These winners were chosen from a group of outstanding candidates," said Megan Sherlock, associate director of student programs for the association. "We are excited to honor these six individuals for what they have achieved at K-State."

Recipients of awards from the K-State Alumni Association are:

  • Andrew Jones, May 2012 doctoral graduate in optical physics, Lawrence, Graduate Student Award for Academics. Jones' dissertation work focused on creating and characterizing mid-IR lasers from molecular gases contained inside hollow fiber waveguides. According to his dissertation adviser, Kristan Corwin, associate professor of physics, Jones is the primary inventor on a U.S. and international provisional patent, as well as the first author on an Optics Express publication. Jones, who also earned a bachelor’s in mechanical engineering from K-State, has served as a graduate research assistant and a graduate teaching assistant.
  • Daniel Unruh, a May 2012 bachelor's graduate in food science in industry and in political science, Manhattan, Anderson Award for Leadership. Unruh's many roles on campus included serving as student body president; vice president of the K-State Student Union Governing Board; a Student Governing Association student senator, committee chair and elections commissioner; a member of the K-State Alumni Association's Student Alumni Board; and an orientation leader for the K-State's new student services. He also was an undergraduate researcher and research assistant.
  • Elizabeth Frink, May 2012 master's graduate in mechanical engineering, Milford, Graduate Student Award for Leadership and Service. Frink, who will pursue a doctorate at K-State, has been active in the Graduate Mechanical or Nuclear Engineering Student Organization and with the Graduate Student Council, serving as chair of the council's awards and recognition subcommittee in 2010. She also has received the prestigious National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Defense. Frink has served as a laboratory supervisor, graduate research assistant, assistant failure analyst and graduate instructor.
  • Shawna Peters, a May 2012 bachelor's graduate in family studies and human services, Timken, Anderson Award for Service. Her extensive volunteer experience includes serving as a site leader on a service trip to Reading to help rebuild the community after a 2011 tornado. She also led a trip to Taos, N.M., to renovate a food pantry and help at an animal shelter, and traveled to Biloxi, Miss., to rebuild homes after Hurricane Katrina. Peters is the student program coordinator for K-State's International Service Teams, which serve in communities around the world in the summer. As a member of a team, Peters spent 10 weeks in south central Mexico, serving women and children in a rural community by teaching English and theater classes.
  • Chris Littrell, a May 2012 bachelor's graduate in political science, Topeka, Anderson Award for Inspiration. Littrell is the founder and president of K-State's On the Spot improv club, which has performed with various improv groups from Kansas City, Chicago and elsewhere. He also served as a counselor and director for K-State's Wildcat Warm-up summer orientation program, was a Serve 2 Succeed student mentor and was a lead tour guide for K-State's new student services. He received the Barbara Meyers Memorial Scholarship and the North Topeka On the Move scholarship. Littrell wants to attend graduate school and eventually work with and counsel at-risk college students.
  • Chris Dolezal, a May 2012 bachelor's graduate in biological systems engineering and premedicine, Valley Center, Anderson Award for Academics. Dolezal is a Kansas State University Foundation scholar, a Biological Systems Engineering Hawks scholar and a Culbertson/Steel Ring Leadership scholar. He also is a member of several honorary societies, including K-State's Mortar Board senior honor society and the College of Engineering's Steel Ring honor society. Dolezal was involved in the Students Helping Students recruitment program and was a leader in K-State's chapter of Acacia international fraternity.