Meet KU’s new student body president, a fast car revving up, and other student news

The Kansas University student body president for 2016-2017 is Gardner senior Stephonn Alcorn, left, and the vice president is Providence, R.I., senior Gabby Naylor, right.

Voter turnout for the 2016-2017 Kansas University Student Senate elections was 19.25 percent, the KU Elections Commission shared this week. That represents 4,278 votes.

KU students elected their top two execs by a landslide. The team of Student Body President Stephonn Alcorn and Vice President Gabby Naylor with the One KU coalition took 90.6 percent of the vote, or 3,800 ballots cast in their favor, according to the Elections Commission. Their opponents, Richie Hernandez and John Castellaw of the CARE KU coalition received 9.39 percent, or 394 votes.

The Kansas University student body president for 2016-2017 is Gardner senior Stephonn Alcorn, left, and the vice president is Providence, R.I., senior Gabby Naylor, right.

Students also elected their Senate representatives from various KU schools and sectors.

Elections took place last week, on Wednesday and Thursday, with results announced Thursday night. The Elections Commission released certified results and voter turnout information on Sunday.

A little more about KU’s next student body president: Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little introduced Alcorn, a junior from Gardner, to the Kansas Board of Regents on Wednesday (the board met in Manhattan; I listened via livestream).

Alcorn, who’s been the Student Senate’s Government Relations Director this academic year, is a member of the Sigma Nu fraternity, Mortar Board, business school ambassadors, and several other things — and is the first KU student body president to have graduated from KU’s Hawk Link program, Gray-Little said. Hawk Link, housed at KU’s Office of Multicultural Affairs, is an academic enrichment program designed for students of color in their first year at KU.

“We are delighted to welcome Stephonn in this new role and to congratulate him,” the chancellor said.

In other recent KU student news:

• Beckman Scholars named: KU has announced its new Beckman Scholars for 2016. They are Kathryn Brewer, a junior from Overland Park majoring in chemistry, and Collin Clay, a sophomore from Edmond, Okla., majoring in chemistry. This is just the second year for this scholarship program (a large one — each scholar receives a total of $21,000 via stipend and travel and supply funds over the course of the 15-month program, according to KU), aimed at supporting undergraduate research.

Brewer and Clay are researching things such as a “siderophore biosynthetic enzyme” in E. coli and “small molecule probes” in biochemical pathways, according to KU. Read more about them here.

• A first for Mock Trial: KU’s Mock Trial club just wrapped up a season of “unprecedented success,” team representative Robert Santamarina, a sophomore from Overland Park, said.

For the first time in team history, KU Mock Trial competed at the American Mock Trial Association National Championship Tournament, held last weekend in Greenville, S.C. KU earned an Honorable Mention, placing it in the top 27 teams in the country out of more than 650 teams, Santamarina said. KU’s Jackson Laughlin was named an American Board of Trial Advocates Intercollegiate All-American Attorney at the tournament, one of just 21 students nationally to earn the honor.

Kansas University Mock Trial team members that went to nationals were (top row, from left) Tyler Toelkes (coach), Robert Santamarina, Alex Kaechele, Jackson Laughlin, Alex Ohler, Matt Werner (coach), Katelynn Schultz and Chelsi Hayden (law school Faculty Advisor); and (bottom row) Eric Wilson (coach)?, Weston Halberstadt, Will Admussen and Lauren Appenfeller.

• Fast car unveiling: The KU School of Engineering’s Jayhawk Motorsports team will publicly unveil its new combustion car at 3 p.m. Sunday at Liberty Hall, 644 Massachusetts St. According to KU, the team spent all year designing and manufacturing the car and will race it at national competitions in May and June.

With that, I will leave you with this video of the chancellor driving a previous Jayhawk Motorsports car into Memorial Stadium for Traditions Night 2015. (OK, I’m not convinced she’s actually the one at the wheel on the track, but it’s still fun.)

• I’m the Journal-World’s KU and higher ed reporter. See all the newspaper’s KU coverage at Reach me by email at, by phone at 832-7187, on Twitter @saramarieshep or via Facebook at