LAWRENCE — A University of Kansas senior in chemical engineering with plans to pursue a medical degree in the KU School of Medicine after graduation is this year’s winner of the James Blackiston Memorial Graduate Fellowship from the KU chapter of Phi Kappa Phi. Amanda Hertel, of Shawnee, wins $1,500 and is the chapter’s nominee for a national Phi Kappa Phi fellowship.
Hertel received multiple honors while at KU, including a Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society Scholarship, Undergraduate Research Awards in spring 2021, fall 2021 and spring 2022, the Fred Kurata Thermodynamics Award and the Outstanding Undergraduate Research Performance Award in Chemical Engineering.
“I am extremely impressed with Amanda’s academic and research abilities and strongly believe that she is highly deserving of this scholarship,” said Prajna Dhar, professor of chemical & petroleum engineering, who taught Hertel as an undergraduate researcher in her lab. “I have no doubt that she will continue to excel even in the extreme rigor that students face in medical school.”
Hertel worked in the Department of Chemical & Petroleum Engineering as an undergraduate teaching fellow in material and energy balances, and she led Zoom discussions and held weekly office hours for Introduction to the Chemical Engineering Profession. Elsewhere on campus, Hertel served as an undergraduate teaching assistant for Mammalian Physiology and Principles of Human Physiology.
Hertel has served as the vice president of the Tau Beta Pi and has been an undergraduate research fellow since fall 2019. Hertel also serves as a FIRST Robotics mentor, where she advises high school students on the electronics used in the FIRST Robotics competition. She also volunteers at Lawrence Memorial Hospital.
About the Blackiston Fellowship
The Blackiston Fellowship was created to honor the memory of James Blackiston, a graduate student in the Department of Linguistics and an instructor in the Intensive English Center, now the Applied English Center, at KU. He graduated from Michigan State University, where he was inducted into Phi Kappa Phi. In 1975, Blackiston played a key role in the formation and activation of the KU chapter of Phi Kappa Phi.
The Blackiston Fellowship recipient becomes the KU chapter’s nominee for one of nearly 60 fellowships from Phi Kappa Phi with values from $5,000 to $15,000. These national fellowships provide assistance to students during their first year of post-graduate study.
The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi is the nation’s oldest and most selective honor society for all academic disciplines. More than 100,000 members maintain their active status in Phi Kappa Phi, which offers them numerous benefits as dues-paying members, including access to $1.4 million in awards and grants each biennium.