Research Associate Receives TRIO Achiever Award
Dr. Jamie Bezdek, a KU alumna and participant in the McNair Scholars Program, was the recipient of the TRIO Achiever award at the 36th Annual MO-KAN-NE Conference. The award is given to former TRIO participants that have received recognition within their profession or for outstanding academic achievement. Dr. Bezdek received her bachelor’s degree in Speech, Language, & Hearing with a minor in Special Education & Autism in 2001. Dr. Bezdek would continue her post-secondary education at the University of Kansas, earning her Master’s in 2006 and her Ph.D. in 2011. In her time as a McNair Scholar, graduate student, and professional, Jamie has embodied the ideals of TRIO by being the first in her family to earn a Doctoral degree and using her education to positively impact disadvantaged students.
Jamie began her journey to impact the lives of others by studying autism in children as a McNair Scholar. She began two undergraduate research projects with the department of Speech, Language, & Hearing. Jamie’s first project studied the parental satisfaction of speech language services for autistic children. Her second focused on the satisfaction, perceptions and preparedness of school speech-language pathologists working with children with autism. This experience with autism, combined with the goals and values of TRIO, left Jamie with a vision to transform the field of special education by being an advocate for those less fortunate. Jamie would continue this vision during her post-graduate studies, eventually earning a Master of Education specializing in autism and a Ph.D. in special education.
In her professional career, Jamie works to promote educational equality for all students by tackling ambitious projects on comprehensive school reform. She works as part of a multidisciplinary research and training team committed to making a significant and sustainable positive difference in the quality of life of individuals and families affected by disability and the professionals who support them. Currently, Dr. Bezdek works at the University of Kanas as a Researcher at the Beach Center on Disability, within the LifeSpan Institute working on implementing lasting change within school systems enabling them to appropriately & inclusively support students with disabilities. Particularly, her research advocates for enhancing parent-professional partnerships, implementing school wide positive behavior support models in urban school districts. Jamie has done exceptional work with USD 500 schools and other urban schools to promote school wide integrated frameworks for disadvantaged students. These same students that she works with share her financial and academic background of low-income and first generation college students. Her commitment to educational equality is grounded in her beginnings as a TRIO student and serve as a prime contribution to her professional commitment similar to TRIO programs.
McNair Scholars Delivered an Inspirational Talk to TRIO professionals
On April 2, 2014, McNair alumna Diana Restrepo (pictured left) and current scholar Jamie Fuller spoke at the 36th Annual MO-KAN-NE Professional Conference in Kansas City, MO. In front of an audience of 174 TRIO professionals, Diana and Jamie shared their academic journey and the role of TRIO programs in broadening their access to higher education. Both women spoke about the challenges of navigating college and academics due to coming from families with little or no post-secondary education and few financial resources. Diana and Jamie attributed their academic success to McNair Scholars Program and their faculty mentors. Jamie and Diana told of how McNair and other TRIO programs are vital for the success of low-income, first-generation and underrepresented college students. Both scholars inspired TRIO professionals to continue to persevere in their endeavors to advocate for students. Diana is completing her Master’s degree in Latin American Studies form KU and will be starting her Ph.D. at KU’s Geography department. Jaime Fuller, a recent recipient of the National FLAS award, will be starting a Master’s program in Geography at the University of Kansas.
McNair Scholar Receives Student Leadership Award
On April 1, 2014, The University of Kansas Medical Center presented Ruaa Hassaballa with a student leadership award. Ruaa, a senior in the clinical laboratory sciences program, was honored with the Student Diversity Award, which is given to students based on their passion for diversity and the capacity to demonstrate leadership skills in this area. Ruaa was nominated for the award based on her University service and leadership, which centered on diversity, teamwork and cooperative learning. Ruaa’s award is featured on KU Medical Center Home Page. http://www.kumc.edu/.