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Kansas State University graduate earns Phi Kappa Phi fellowship to continue cancer research

Friday, July 25, 2014


MANHATTAN — A May 2014 graduate of Kansas State University has received a fellowship from Phi Kappa Phi.

Jenny Barriga, a magna cum laude graduate in chemistry and biochemistry, Dodge City, is one of 51 students nationwide this year and one of 23 students from Kansas State University in the past 26 years to earn the $5,000 fellowship. Each university is only permitted to nominate one candidate to the national competition, and selection is based on the applicant's expected success in graduate or professional study as determined by academic achievement, service and leadership experience, career goals and acceptance at an approved graduate or professional program.

Founded in 1897, Phi Kappa Phi is one of the oldest and most selective collegiate honor societies, recognizing and promoting academic excellence in all fields of higher education. The fellowship will be applied to Barriga's first year of graduate study at Stanford University, where she will study biophysics.

"I would like to thank Jim Hohenbary, director of the Office of Nationally Competitive Scholarships, for helping me with the application and previously giving me the skills to put together a strong application in a short period of time," Barriga said. "I also would like to thank my mentors, Stefan Bossmann at Kansas State University and Barbara Spohr at Dodge City Community College, for encouraging me to pursue a research career and helping me be successful both academically and personally."

As an undergraduate at Kansas State University, Barriga was a member of the Developing Scholars Program and the Bridges to the Future program. She was involved in early detection cancer research and cancer drug delivery systems research under the guidance of Bossmann, professor of chemistry.

Currently, Barriga is working at the National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, where she is researching the ATP hydrolysis-dependent polymerization of a structural protein using genetics and biochemical methods. She will continue the research until she begins graduate school in fall 2015.

Her awards and honors include a Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship, National Institutes of Health Undergraduate Scholarship, Bridges to the Future Grant, Dennis and Sally von Waaden Scholarship, Jerry and Judy Reed Chemistry Scholarship, Johnson Center Cancer Research Award, K-State Transfer Academic Award, K-State Memorial Scholarship, and a Phi Lambda Upsilon Chemistry Award. A 2010 graduate of Dodge City High School, Barriga is the daughter of Francisco Barriga and Graciela Cervantez, both from Dodge City.

Students interested in learning more about competing for future Phi Kappa Phi awards or other scholarships can contact Hohenbary at jimlth@k-state.edu.


Jim Hohenbary

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Dodge City


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Jenny Barriga

Jenny Barriga

Written by

Stephanie Jacques

At a glance

Jenny Barriga, a May 2014 magna cum laude graduate in chemistry and biochemistry from Kansas State University, is the recipient of a Phi Kappa Phi fellowship.