LAWRENCE — The University of Kansas, city of Lawrence and MV Transportation have announced the first recipient of a new $2,500 scholarship designed to support experiential learning opportunities for current KU students interested in the transportation industry.
The recipient, Amber Hanschu, is an industrial design student from Wichita. Her senior thesis project is to increase bus use by raising awareness and creating a versatile bus stop system that focuses on comfort, usability and community.
Professor of Design Huw Thomas said he and Hanschu have begun discussions about the project and the many scenarios that would make for an interesting study into mass transit systems, with a focus upon the changing seasonal demands of a university campus and town such as Lawrence.
"I think this a great opportunity to share ideas with a company so crucial to the KU campus and Lawrence community. Ultimately all parties have a vested interest in a successful mass transit solution,” Thomas said. “We hope that this project will catalyze some thought-provoking ideas with regard to both operator and user needs. I look forward to assisting Amber across the semester and supporting KU’s ongoing relationship with MV Transportation in the future.”
Hanschu will present her work at the end of the spring semester.
“As an industrial design student, I get to apply creative problem solving to a wide range of projects,” she said. “I am truly excited to work with a real company to explore how a new bus stop design could educate and encourage more people to ride the bus.”
The scholarship is funded by MV Transportation, the private transportation contracting firm that operates Lawrence Transit under contract with the city of Lawrence and KU on Wheels. MV created the scholarship opportunity to support student initiatives and to give students interested in pursuing careers in public transit more real-world experience in the industry.
“I can’t begin to describe how excited I am about this partnership, Amber’s project and just how much fun this project has been to be a part of,” said Mike Sweeten, MV’s general manager responsible for managing the Lawrence Transit operation. “Amber’s proposed project is perfectly aligned with MV’s values and customer focus, and our desire as a company is to help groom the future leaders of transportation.”
The call for applications for the fall 2015 semester will be released by May 1. Scholarships will be awarded annually to students who demonstrate academic merit and preference given to students interested in careers in transit or public transportation. Recipients are expected to work on a project related to public transportation during the scholarship semester. Questions about the scholarship should go to John Augusto, assistant vice provost for experiential learning at email@example.com.
“What an exciting time and a great partnership. Thanks to MV Transportation for creating such a great opportunity for KU students,” said Bob Nugent, public transit administrator for Lawrence Transit.
“We are so pleased that our contractor, MV Transportation, has chosen to extend this support every year to one of our outstanding KU students. It is a unique extension of our working partnership,” said Danny Kaiser, assistant director of KU Parking and Transit.
The fund will be managed by KU Endowment, the independent, nonprofit organization serving as the official fundraising and fund-management organization for KU. Founded in 1891, KU Endowment was the first foundation of its kind at a U.S. public university.
About MV Transportation
Headquartered in Dallas, MV Transportation is the largest privately owned passenger transportation contracting firm based in the United States. The company employs more than 17,500 dedicated transit professionals in 146 locations around the world. MV has operated Lawrence Transit since 2000.