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K-State Today

October 25, 2012

Recognizing excellence: Environmental attorney, policy analyst for low-income adults receive alumni awards from College of Arts and Sciences

Submitted by Communications and Marketing

Two distinguished alumni of Kansas State University's College of Arts and Sciences will receive alumni awards from the college at a ceremony Thursday, Oct. 25.

Chris Steincamp, a 1989 bachelor's graduate in geology and a 1993 Washburn University Law School graduate, will receive the Alumni Merit Award. Vickie Choitz, a 1998 bachelor's graduate in political science and secondary education with a secondary major in women's studies, will receive the Young Alumni Award. Choitz went on to complete a master's degree in public policy from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government on a Truman Scholarship.

Peter Dorhout, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, will make the award presentations at the K-State Alumni Center.

George Clark, head of the university's department of geology, nominated Steincamp for the Alumni Merit Award to recognize Steincamp's distinguished service to the university and his public engagement with numerous agencies during his career in the legal profession.

"Chris has achieved great respect, specializing in legal issues involving environmental concerns," Clark said. "He continued his education after his bachelor's degree by completing a law degree, and he maintains his professional standing as a licensed professional geologist in the state of Kansas. He may well be unique among our alumni."

Clark also noted that Steincamp contributes to his profession in publications and professional journals and gives numerous seminars to various professional and educational groups. He is an active member of the Geology Alumni Advisory Council, serving as past president. He's had offices in other statewide, national and international organizations devoted to education, business, culture, charity and youth.

Steincamp is a managing partner at Depew Gillen Rathbun & McInteer L.C. in Wichita. He lives in Wichita with his wife, Shelby, and their two teenage children, Maura and Sam.

Choitz, a Salina native is a senior policy analyst with the Center for Law and Social Policy in Washington, D.C. She analyzes and advocates for federal and state workforce and postsecondary education policies that help low-income, lower-skilled adults access education, postsecondary credentials and family-sustaining careers. She regularly authors publications about strategies for helping low-income individuals access education and better jobs and makes frequent presentations to groups and associations on these topics.

She was nominated for the Young Alumni Award by Michele Janette, head of Kansas State University's department of women's studies.

"Women's studies is a discipline devoted to educating students so that they can influence the world for greater equality of opportunity, achievement and happiness," Janette said. "Vickie's career success exemplifies the quality and commitment of our students, and the work she does exemplifies our departmental objective of putting those talents and passions to work to improve the lives of the disadvantaged in our communities."

While at the university, Choitz received a research internship in London at the Institute for Public Policy Research, where she conducted comparative research on U.S. and U.K. welfare reforms and workforce development. She authored an official summary document on that subject for an institute book on welfare reform. She now lives in Washington, D.C., with her husband, Theodore Poppitz, also a K-State alumnus.

Both of the College of Arts and Sciences' awards are being presented at the third annual Eisenhower Circle Celebration, a special event recognizing loyal alumni and friends who give $250 or more to the college annually. The Eisenhower Circle recognition society is named for Milton S. Eisenhower, the ninth president of the university and for whom Eisenhower Hall is named. The hall is home to the dean's offices of the College of Arts and Sciences.