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Phi Kappa Phi Fellowship helps K-Stater pursue law degree

Wednesday, June 22, 2016


MANHATTAN — Jessica Wheeler, Ellis, a recent graduate of Kansas State University, has received a Phi Kappa Phi Graduate Fellowship to study health law and pursue her passion to help others.

Wheeler graduated magna cum laude from Kansas State University in December 2015 with a Bachelor of Arts in biochemistry, minors in business and history, a certificate in primary texts, and a pre-law emphasis. She is one of 51 students nationally to receive the $5,000 Phi Kappa Phi 2016 Graduate Fellowship, making her the 25th Kansas State University student to receive the award in the past 30 years.

The fellowship will be applied to Wheeler's first year of law school at the University of Minnesota.

"I am excited to start law school in the fall, where I will learn the skills I need to help people in a specialized way," Wheeler said. "I am honored to be selected for the Phi Kappa Phi Fellowship."

Each university can 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.

"Phi Kappa Phi has invested in my future, and I hope to return their investment by modeling the goals of the organization," Wheeler said.

By helping others, Wheeler has already started modeling Phi Kappa Phi's mission of promoting academic excellence. She was the director of Off-Campus Housing Support and president of the College of Arts & Sciences Ambassadors. She served on the Student Tribunal, Student Review Board and Pre-Law Executive Board at Kansas State University.

"Jessica was adventurous in exploring the curriculum, testing her opportunities and refining her direction," said Daralyn Gordon Arata, coordinator of the university's Office of Pre-Law Advising. "She has worked very hard. She will be a wonderful attorney and a credit to the profession, Kansas State University and the University of Minnesota Law School."

Wheeler also participated in two undergraduate research projects. She researched the history of rural Kansas communities through the Chapman Center for Rural Studies. She also researched iron transport in Klebsiella pneumonia with Phil Klebba, professor and department head for biochemistry and molecular biophysics.

"Jessica was wonderful to work with both in the classroom and in the laboratory — a top young scholar in every way," Klebba said. "She is incredibly bright and attentive to detail. She has an almost perfect academic record, and she has high expectations for a legal career related to pharmaceutical, environmental or medical issues."

Phi Kappa Phi was founded in 1897 and is one of the oldest and most selective collegiate honor societies. It recognizes and promotes academic excellence in all fields of higher education. 


Jim Hohenbary


Office of Nationally Competitive Scholarships

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Jessica Wheeler

Jessica Wheeler, Kansas State University December 2015 graduate, received a $5,000 Phi Kappa Phi Graduate Fellowship to study health law.

Written by

Stephanie Jacques