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Archive for Tuesday, March 15, 2011

First Bell: Two chats down, more chats to go; coalition sets candidate forum; LHS graduate nominated for Goldwater scholarship at KU

March 15, 2011

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A few education-oriented items from around the area, and beyond:

Two candidates are done chatting. More are on the way.

Marlene Merrill

Marlene Merrill

Today at 11 a.m., visit LJWorld.com for an online chat with Marlene Merrill, an incumbent member of the Lawrence school board who is seeking re-election.

The retired educator is one of nine people campaigning for four available seats on the board.

Merrill's chat follows two earlier ones: Rick Ingram and Shannon Kimball already have answered submitted questions, and you can read the transcripts through links provided alongside this story.

For Merrill and others upcoming, candidates will answer questions online for an hour.

I'll be moderator for the upcoming chat, posting questions for Merrill to answer and following up when necessary. For this and other upcoming chats, readers are encouraged to submit questions, either ahead of time or during the chats themselves. Again, just follow the links posted alongside this story.

The general election is April 5.

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In other election news, the Voter Education Coalition has scheduled its forum for Lawrence school board candidates for 7 p.m. March 22 at City Hall, Sixth and Massachusetts streets.

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A graduate of Lawrence High School is among four Kansas University juniors nominated for national Barry M. Goldwater Scholarships, regarded as the premier undergraduate award to encourage excellence in science, engineering and mathematics.

Logan James Wille, a member of LHS’s class of 2008, is competing to add to KU’s list of 47 students to have received a Goldwater scholarship. Winners are to be announced later this month.

The scholarships cover eligible expenses for undergraduate tuition, fees, books and room and board, up to $7,500 annually. Congress established the program in 1986 in tribute to the retired U.S. senator from Arizona and to ensure a continuing source of highly qualified scientists, mathematicians and engineers.

To be nominated, students must have an outstanding academic record, significant research experience and high potential for a career in mathematics, natural sciences or engineering.

Here is some information from KU, describing Wille and his work:

“Wille, majoring in physics, is researching solutions for storing renewable energy. Specifically he is investigating supercapacitors — devices that are key for the advancement of technology and the use of renewable energy.

“A childhood fascination with taking things apart to see how they worked led Wille to physics. He plans to earn a doctorate in condensed matter physics for a career in research and teaching.

“As an undergraduate research assistant in the lab of Judy Wu, University Distinguished Professor of Physics, Wille has built two Atomic Layer Deposition systems to test and find solutions for problems that arise with his supercapacitor research project. His research project focuses on increasing the surface area of the electrodes needed while decreasing the distance between the electrodes and the mass of the supercapacitor to boost energy density.

“He was one of 22 students selected nationally in summer 2010 for a Research Experience for Undergraduates program from EPSCoR (Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research). Wille was assigned to the Kansas Center for Solar Energy Research, part of ESPCoR Kansas, an interdisciplinary unit funded by the National Science Foundation.

“He is the son of James and Marianne Wille and a graduate of Lawrence High School.”

KU’s other Goldwater nominees are Isaac Steven Fees, of Manhattan; Scott Archer Mitchell, of Salina; and Deena Rennerfeldt, of Helena, Mont., and Vernal, Utah.

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