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Daniel Rivera
Self Graduate Fellowship
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KU announces new 2022-2026 Self Graduate Fellows

Mon, 04/25/2022

LAWRENCE — Eight doctoral students have been selected to receive the University of Kansas’ prestigious Madison and Lila Self Graduate Fellowship for the 2022-2023 academic year. This incoming group of fellows is among over 200 students who have benefited from the fellowship since it was established in 1989.

The Self Graduate Fellowship is a four-year package awarded to incoming or first-year doctoral students who demonstrate leadership, initiative and passion for achievement. The fellowship covers full tuition and fees, provides graduate research assistant support of $32,000 per year, a $5,500 professional development award and a unique professional development program. The Fellow Development Program provides general education and training in communication, management, innovation, policy and leadership to assist Self Graduate Fellows in preparation for future leadership roles. The role of the development program is to complement the specialized education and training provided in doctoral programs. The total value of the four-year doctoral fellowship exceeds $180,000.

The fellowship’s mission is to identify and recruit exceptional doctoral students who demonstrate the promise to make significant contributions to their fields and society as a whole.

The late Madison “Al” and Lila Self launched and permanently endowed the Self Graduate Fellowship in 1989, motivated by their strong belief in the vital importance of developing leadership for tomorrow. Madison Self was a 1943 KU graduate in chemical engineering. Lila Self grew up in Eudora and attended KU with the Class of 1943.

The new Self Graduate Fellows for 2022-2026: 

  • Alexandra Berkowicz, of Gurnee, Illinois: Bachelor’s degree in biomolecular engineering from the Milwaukee School of Engineering; first-year doctoral student in the interdisciplinary graduate program in biomedical sciences, KU Medical Center
  • Skylar Bird, of Overland Park: Bachelor’s degree in biochemistry and cellular biology from the University of California, San Diego; incoming doctoral student in the interdisciplinary graduate program in biomedical sciences, KU Medical Center
  • Aleesa Chua, of Los Angeles: Expected bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Colorado College; incoming doctoral student in chemistry
  • Grahmm Funk, of Leawood: Bachelor’s degree in biological sciences and bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of Missouri-Columbia; first-year doctoral student in pharmaceutical chemistry
  • Katherine Meinhold, of Wilmington, North Carolina: Bachelor’s degree in materials science and engineering from North Carolina State University; first-year doctoral student in bioengineering
  • Diana Najera, of Liberal: Bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from Kansas State University; first-year doctoral student in the interdisciplinary graduate program in biomedical sciences, KU Medical Center
  • Kip Nielsen, of Stoughton, Wisconsin: Bachelor’s degree in atmospheric and oceanic science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and master’s degree in atmospheric science from KU; first-year doctoral student in atmospheric science
  • Jeffrey Xu, of Washington, D.C.: Bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering from KU; first-year doctoral student in aerospace engineering.


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