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Sources: Rachel Hoppins, rhoppins@k-state.edu;
and James Hohenbary, 785-532-6904, jimlth@k-state.edu
Photo available. Download at:
News release prepared by: Jennifer Torline, 785-532-0847, jtorline@k-state.edu

Friday, April 1, 2011


MANHATTAN -- Rachel Hoppins, a sophomore in wildlife biology, Wichita, is Kansas State University's 22nd Morris K. Udall scholar.

K-State's DeeAnn-Rose Turpin, junior in biological systems engineering, Leavenworth, and Mark Sowers, junior in biology, Spring Hill, both earned honorable mentions in this year's scholarship competition.

The Udall Scholarship is worth up to $5,000 and is awarded to sophomore- or junior-level students who are seeking a career related to the environment or are a Native American or a Native Alaskan seeking a career in health care or tribal policy. Honorable mention recipients earn a $350 award. Udall scholars also attend a Udall scholar orientation week at the beginning of August in Tucson, Ariz., where they receive their awards and meet policymakers and community leaders.

"Through her volunteer work and dedication to the environment, Rachel Hoppins is a model Udall scholar," said K-State President Kirk Schulz. "We're proud of Rachel and all of our students who have contributed to the university's success in the Udall scholarship competition. K-State's strong academic environment enables all of these students to succeed, and we continue to strengthen our student learning experience as we work toward becoming a top 50 public research university by 2025."

This year 80 students from 61 institutions were chosen as Udall scholars, and 50 students received honorable mentions. They were selected from a pool of 510 applicants from 231 institutions.

K-State students have earned 22 Udall scholarships, which ranks the university third in total Udall scholars among state universities and fifth overall since the scholarship program began in 1996.

"I'm honored to receive this award, and I'm glad that the Udall Foundation sees what I am trying to do as worthwhile," Hoppins said.

Hoppins has spent 10 years volunteering in the education and veterinary medicine departments at the Sedgwick County Zoo, where she also leads a high school summer program called Zoo Crew.

After graduating from K-State, she hopes to attend George Mason University to earn a master's degree in zoo and aquarium leadership. She would someday like to work at the Smithsonian National Zoological Park in Washington, D.C.

"I would like to someday direct a zoo or work for the Association of Zoos and Aquariums," she said. "So far, I've worked both in the classroom and at special events at the Sedgwick County Zoo to bring about awareness, but I would especially like to work with community education."

Hoppins is also the vice president of Gamma Rho Lambda sorority and secretary of the K-State Tennis Club. She has been involved in the Strong Complex Diversity Team, Van Zile Hall Governing Board and the Association of Residence Halls. She has received a Putnam Scholarship and a Sherrid Scholarship. Hoppins graduated from Wichita Northwest High School in 2009 and is the daughter of Jim and Barbara Hoppins, Wichita.

Turpin is a junior in biological systems engineering. She's the project manager for the K-State chapters of Engineers Without Borders and Habitat for Humanity, and she's involved with Students for Environmental Action. She just returned from a spring break Engineers Without Borders trip to Guatemala, where she helped inspect water purification filters. For spring break 2009 she worked with Engineers Without Borders on a rainwater harvesting assessment and design trip to India. She is conducting research on biofuel production from algae in K-State's bioenergy lab. Turpin is an associate National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering scholar, a Kansas State Scholar and involved with the K-State chapter of Alpha Epsilon, an engineering honorary society. In summer 2010 she interned with Siemens to create a renewable energy database and was selected to participate in the Siemens Intern Experience at Walt Disney. Turpin graduated from Leavenworth High School in 2008 and is the daughter of Shoney Turpin of Leavenworth.

Sowers is a junior in biology. He's the president of the African Studies Student Association and a member of the K-State Cat Crew. Sowers works as a research assistant in the Division of Biology, where he studies bison movement on the Konza Prairie Biological Station using GPS collars. He's completed two summer research internships with the Amboseli Elephant Research Project in Kenya. He is a Mark Chapman Scholar, a Kassebaum Scholar and received the Civic Leadership Scholarship. Sowers graduated from Spring Hill High School in 2008 and is the son of Paul and Diana Sowers, Spring Hill.


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