Kansas Academy of Mathematics and Science in the News


From the Beloit Call

Paul Finney

Finney will attend college at sixteen

by Sharon Sahlfeld, Beloit Call Editor | January 13, 2017

While most sixteen year old teens are thinking about their next high school pop quiz, Beloit High School sophomore Paul Finney has his sights on an early college enrollment. 

Finney has been selected to attend Fort Hays State University as a high school junior in the fall of 2017 as part of the Kansas Academy of Mathematics and Science (KAMS).

"I am on cloud nine," said Finney. "I knew I had a chance but never thought I would be chosen on the first screening to secure me a spot for this fall. I have a lot of interest in Math and Science and this will help me further my choices I make to continue in these fields." 

This is the ninth year for the KAMS program which was established in 2006 for the state's best and brightest high school students. Finney will be contacted with confirmation papers, interviews by phone and online for his preparation into the program along with an orientation process. He has been planning for the chance at this program for a long time and has worked on the requirements for the chance to be accepted. Algebra had to be taken at the junior high level and the Beloit schools have helped him prepare for his goal through his years of attendance.

"We are incredibly proud of Paul and his acceptance into KAMS," said Beloit Junior/Senior High School Principal Casey Seyfert.  " This is a great honor that he has worked incredibly hard to achieve.   Paul has committed himself to a higher education at a very young age and this will serve him well for his future career.   We are very excited for what the future holds for Paul and know he will do great things."

Finney was chosen as one of twenty students for the early admission process. Ten students were ranked first in their class. All students accepted have a 3.75 grade point average or higher and 15 students have 4.0 GPA's. Students selected are also leaders in their schools and communities.

The FHSU acceptance letter expressed their excitement that Finney's spot in the program has been secured.  

"The selection committee was impressed with your application and are very excited to have you as part of the KAMS and FHSU family," said KAMS Director Dr. Roger Schieferecke. 

"I have known about the program for a long time," Finney said. "I felt it would be a challenge for me and my sisters attended FHSU and recommended it to me as well. My parents have been with me every step of the way."

A ten plus application was prepared for the program with multiple questions to be answered about Finney. He provided a written essay about himself and his parents wrote essays as to why they approved of their son attending the program.

The college program will pay a full tuition for Finney but he will be responsible for the cost of his housing and food plans.

" I will take a lot of what I own with me," Finney said. "I' will have to provide some desk materials and a refrigerator."

With his advanced college enrollment, Finney will be moving at a faster pace with a lot of studying as he is preparing for approximately 51 hours plus, in the books. He will be taking college courses, not high school courses. His first year curriculum consist of a Fall Semester (17 credit hours): Pre-Calculus; University Chemistry I and Lab; Apparent/Geosciences: Earth, Space, Science, Research and Writing; English Composition I; US History Before 1877. Spring Semester (14-16 credit hours): Calculus I; STEM Elective; English Composition II; US History Since 1877. His second year will consist of Fall Semester (18 credit hours): Calculus II; Principles of Biology; Physics for Scientists and Engineers I; Departmental Research and Writing; Elective. Spring Semester (16-18 credit hours): Social Science Elective; STEM Elective; American Government; Computer Science Elective; Departmental Research and Writing.

Every student in KAMS is required to present research during their two years in the program. While conducting their research, the students will work with the faculty that will mentor and foster a positive environment. Previous students have presented their research at the Regional, State, and Intel International Science and Engineering Fairs as well as at the capitol in Topeka. 

With Finney's attendance, he will receive college-level instruction from the highest degree awarded graduate faculty. He will earn his high school diploma and an extra 68 hours of college credit and take part in hands-on research by Ph.D scientists. Finney will be able to take part in leadership development and civic engagement opportunities, co-curricular and extra-curricular opportunities to develop the whole student on a safe campus and residential environment with a trained support staff. He will be staying on campus where they have special resident assistants specified specifically for their age groups. 

"I am excited more than anything," said Finney. "I have been to the campus numerous times through different camps and while visiting my sisters, so I am very familiar with it." 

Finney has been involved in high school scholars bowl, music and orchestra and basketball. He will be able to take part in the college quiz bowls, special clubs such as chess club and to also take part in the orchestra program. Finney expressed he would probably be too busy studying to do much more of anything else. 

Paul Finney is the son of David and Karen Finney, Beloit. He is the youngest of four siblings including his sisters Ashley and Shelbi and brother Ben. 

"We are nervous and excited for Paul," said mom and dad. "But no more than we were when both our girls left for Fort Hays. Both girls were Resident Hall Advisors for the KAMS kids in Custer Hall while in college. We are very comfortable with the security and curfews put in place for these younger kids."

When finished with the program, Finney will be able to graduate with his Beloit High School graduating class. He will also be able to attend special school functions, such as homecoming's and prom's.


" I was born and raised in Beloit and will take my academics learned here with me," said Finney. "I think the teachers have done a good job in preparing me. Overall, I am very proud of myself. I will miss my family but this is going to definitely advance my studies. I see it as a great opportunity and whatever it leads me to, will be a great next step in my life."

Online Buying Stimulus

by: Eric Menendez, English 448 Writing Intern

May 1, 2017


Dana Kang

Studies show that customers consider weight, roughness and softness when deciding which product to buy.  But what do they do when they shop online?  Enter Dana Kang, a high school junior from South Korea who has studied how a consumer’s inability to physically touch a product impacts his or her decision to buy.  For a recent psychology convention, her team’s research topic focused on the effects of tactile stimulation on customer evaluation.  This annual convention, the Great Plains Students’ Psychology Convention, was hosted by the FHSU Department of Psychology and was held in the Memorial Union at FHSU.

Kang had thought about the relationship between tactile stimulation and decision-making, and she was interested in how that psychological perception could be measured in a scientific way.  “By testing the experiment, the most fascinating point was that our research will contribute to future research and have implications for our society,” Kang says.

While the team did not find many differences between old and new findings, they did find a constant development.  They have added experimental goods to prove whether a tactical stimulation affects one’s decision to buy.  They are still in the process of the experiment but have noted how the heavier the weight of a product, the higher its perceived durability.  In addition, they also discuss how difficult online marketing is for consumers, since they are unable to touch or feel the objects they buy.

Kang’s main role on the team was conducting background research, compiling the product evaluation form for participants and preparing for the team’s presentation.  She was on a team with two graduate students.  The graduate students guided Kang’s work, while they were responsible for deriving the results.  During her work on this topic, Kang realized that even the tiniest specific factor is able to yield results.  As part of their presentation, her team considered how participants held the object, the variety of products that relate to college students, and the time frame for the experiment.  “Since this is my first research project, everything seemed unique and professional,” Kang says.  She considered her work with psychology professor Dr. April Park to be quite pleasant, as Park encouraged her to keep up with the project.  “If I have a chance to continue having research with her, I would love to do that,” Kang says.

Kang was quite happy that her team’s research managed to do so well.  “It was really rewarding and thrilling that our team’s invested time and effort was proved by accomplishing 2nd place.”  From her research with Dr. Park and the two graduate students, she learned to conduct an experiment, write a research paper and prepare a presentation.  She would love to do all that again, but maybe next time on an individual project.

Regarding the KAMS program, Kang notes how rewarding it is that high schoolers are able to experience college life in advance.  She was able to engage in opportunities that she would not have been able to encounter in high school and says, “As an international student, living in the same dormitory and socializing with people from different countries was a blessing.”  She notes that the college classes might be challenging for newcomers, but the satisfaction of accomplishing high goals can help them realize the good they are doing.


Competitive Programming

by: Eric Menendez, English 448 Writing Intern

April 15, 2017


Rounak Bastola-Jacob Lee

Kansas Academy of Math and Science (KAMS) students Jason Park and Rounak Bastola are masters of the computer-programming throw-down.  Such competitions include the University of Kansas University High School programming competition in Lawrence, Kansas, and the Kansas State University High School programming competition in Manhattan, Kansas.  The general idea for these competitions is for the competitors to work in teams.  Each team is given one computer and one programming packet containing five to ten problems.  The competitors must use math and code to solve these problems before submitting them for judging.

Park has written programming for more than the last ten years and participates in many programming competitions, winning first or second place in most of them.  He and Bastola are proud of these accomplishments.  Having met at KAMS, Park and Bastola have since teamed up with each other for many competitions.  For the Kansas State University programming competition, the two drew on their individual strengths to win 2nd place.  Park is better at making computer algorithms, and Bastola is better at doing math.  “So he interpreted the problem mathematically, and I designed an algorithm from it and wrote code for it,” Park says.  Because of how well the two worked together, Bastola and Park will likely team up for future competitions.

Park has always been a competitive person because any kind of competition, including the countless programming competitions he has participated in, motivates him to grow as a software engineer.  This interest began when he was nine, when he thought about having his own personal website.  “I was fascinated in the fact that I can actually create something working in my computer,” says Park.  Since then, he has devoted himself to studying programming and creating computer programs and smartphone applications.  “It feels awesome when I see my program improving peoples’ lives.”  Bastola also values the computer-programming field.  “It directed me towards computer science,” he says, which became one of his majors along with math.

Having competed previously in Dallas, Texas, Park and Bastola looked forward to the recent Dallas Hackathon, or Earthhack.  Park attended high school one hour away from the Dallas area before coming to KAMS.  He has made friends at these competitions, with a few becoming his best friends.  Both Park and Bastola attended the Hackathon as a team of five, teaming up with some of Park’s friends.  The team was the winner of the Make School Challenge at the Hackathon.

KAMS director Roger Schieferecke and other KAMS faculty members recommend students to participate in programming or other competitions, while supporting them throughout.

KAMS helps students not only by letting them attend college classes but also by letting them choose which classes they wish to take and encouraging them to participate in relevant competitions.  The program also lets students share research with their professors.

Beyond tournaments and academic research, KAMS offers its students plenty of free time, allowing them to develop themselves.  Since last February, Park has been working for a French startup company as a software developer.  “I am pretty sure that for my career path, it was a good choice to come here rather than to stay in my previous school,” Park says.  Bastola also acknowledges that the program has given him the experience he needs to move forward with his career in computer science.


Exam P

by: Eric Menendez, English 448 Writing Intern

April 1, 2017

Jacob Andrews, a 17-year old KAMS student, has passed Exam P at the Prometric Testing Center in Topeka, Kansas.  The P in the exam stands for probability, which the test covers with univariate and multivariate probability distributions.  Other content covered in the test includes general probability concepts such as conditional probability, Bayes Theorem, independent events and mutually exclusive events.  In fact, “Most of the concepts covered in statistics class appeared on the exam,” Andrews says.

With content like that, it’s no surprise that the pass rate is a mere 41%.  Most of the students taking Exam P are juniors in college, making Andrews’s performance all the more impressive.  “I think that the reason the exam doesn’t have a high pass rate is because most students aren’t prepared for how difficult it is and the amount of material covered,” Andrews notes. The pass rate has always been low, as the exam reflects the difficult nature of an actuary’s job.  “The Society of Actuaries is ensuring that only qualified candidates are being certified,” assures Andrews.  Actuarial science majors must take and pass this exam in order to become a certified actuary in the future, even if the exam isn’t a class requirement.  Andrews says “it is kind of a college opportunity in the sense that taking Mathematical Statistics here at Fort Hays State University gave me the tools I needed to pass the exam,” Andrews says.

Andrews recalls his own difficulties with the test: “The hardest part for me was teaching myself the concepts that weren’t covered in my statistics class.”  For example, the class did not cover the uses of moment generation functions in as much depth as required for the exam.  The exam questions don’t cover basic concepts but instead go for in-depth knowledge of probability.  “They give you 3 hours for 30 questions for a reason.”  In addition, Andrews was not comfortable using a primitive calculator for the test.  The testing center has different models available, but they are all considered primitive because they can only be used for adding, subtracting, multiplying, dividing, exponents and logarithms.  Using a primitive calculator meant that even the concepts originally covered in class proved difficult.  For example, Andrews had to memorize all of the probability mass/density functions and associated information like the mean, standard deviation and moment generation functions.

Which part of the exam was especially challenging for Andrews—and which part was the easiest?  The multivariate distribution functions were the most difficult for Andrews in comparison to the other parts.  Andrews found univariate probability distributions and conditional probability to be the easiest.

Andrews calculates that he studied for at least 50 hours.  “I was overwhelmed with relief when I submitted my test and the screen informed me that I had passed,” Andrews says.  While he did not know anyone who took the test with him, he does know two fellow KAMS classmates and actuarial science majors, Rahasya Bharaniah and Samantha Schmitz, who will take the exam in the future.  For them, and the rest of the students that are planning to take the exam, he recommends that they need a deep understanding of Exam P’s material.  “There is no such thing as overstudying,” Andrews notes.




From the Dirt Track to the Classroom

by: Eric Menendez, English 448 Writing Intern

March 15, 2017

             Jed 2  

Being a Kansas Academy of Math and Science (KAMS) student isn’t all work and no play.  Just ask Jed Werner of Plainville, Kansas, who spends his free time racing sprint cars.  In fact, his entire family is involved with racing: “My dad used to race flat track motorcycles, and I have several cousins that race flat motorcycles, too.”  He also has a cousin who races with Top Fuel nitro bikes with the National Hot Rod Association.  Werner himself has been racing since he was 6 years old, initially starting with go-karts, and switching to sprint cars when he turned 14.

Werner is a regular contender at the Hays RPM Speedway, thanks to the track being so close to his home.  He enjoys help from his family and friends who also watch him race and do his best.  He has many fond memories with the racetrack, thanks to his family and friends cheering him on.  He even enjoys his talks with the other drivers and teams.  His favorite racing memory is the time he won his first race at the Liberal Fairgrounds in Liberal, Kansas, with his father and uncle.  While no one else in the KAMS program is as involved in car racing as he is, Werner knows of plenty car enthusiasts at KAMS, and his own friends are planning to come to his next race.

The fastest Werner has driven his sprint car is 130 mph, achieving that record at Belleville, Kansas.  He details how going that fast can be a challenge, especially on dirt where turning the wheel to the left and having the car slide, making what he considers to be the biggest thrill.  “At speeds like that, you can’t think about what you are going to do next, you can only react.”  This requires plenty of trust between him and any driver that is a few feet from him, sometimes making contact.

Werner attributes his success in sprint cars to his youth and competitiveness.  He has won two races and finished second in the United Rebel Sprint Series national points standing throughout his short career.  “There isn’t an age group that I am racing in, so I am put on the same track as people who have been doing this for decades, and I am still able to be very competitive with all of them.”

Aside from his sprint-racing hobby, Werner also enjoys rocketry, the electric car race team, and work on a solar-powered UAV—all opportunities afforded through the KAMS program.  When he was in the fourth grade, Werner found out about the KAMS program from a teacher.  “Ever since I heard about it, I worked ahead in school and did higher level math classes.”

In KAMS, he enjoys the new people he has met and appreciates the many opportunities the program has given him: “It isn’t very often that a high-schooler gets to do college-level research and join cool clubs that aren’t offered in high school.”

Werner encourages prospective KAMS students to consider the program’s endless opportunities.  “The higher-level classes and people you meet open so many doors to help you on your way to a successful career.”  Werner loves being able to choose classes related to his possible career choice and enjoys the chance to pursue his many interests.

KAMS is an early entry to college program that focuses on advanced mathematics and science.  While studying at KAMS, students live on campus with other KAMS students from across Kansas and around the world.  Over the course of two years, students complete 68 hours of college credit.  These college classes are taken alongside traditional college undergraduates and taught by university professors, while simultaneously contributing to their high school graduation requirements.


KAMS is accepting applications for the fall semester.  Interested students or parents can contact the KAMS office at (785) 628-4690 or visit the KAMS website at fhsu.edu/KAMS.

KAMS Students Soaring to New Heights—Literally

by: Eric Menendez, English 448 Writing Intern

March 1, 2017

Mackinzie Foster is one of several KAMS students who participate in the High Altitude Balloon (HAB) project.  During her first visit to campus, Dr. Roger Schieferecke, director of KAMS, invited Foster and her father to join a balloon launch with him, a group of students, and Dr. Paul Adams.  “After experiencing the launch process and being able to track the balloon as it traveled, I knew that HAB was something I wanted to be a part of when I joined the KAMS program that fall,” says Foster.

Foster’s favorite part of the HAB is the recovery after the launch, because of how they are leaving the landing scene with a payload box that has been to the edge of space.  One time, in fact, when the weather conditions allowed them to see the balloon burst around a 90,000-ft. altitude and land.

Another favorite moment of Foster’s is a specific time when they were successfully able to use the burndown system that was developed by another student.  During the last launch in May, the group completed a tethered launch.  There were two lines coming from the balloon, one from the payload burnout system, and one from the weight.  After the balloon reached the desired height, the burnout system burned the line between the balloon and the payload, keeping the balloon from rising farther.

Foster assures that they typically don’t have problems getting the balloons off the ground, but she also notes that there have been a couple different launches where there was minimal trouble.  One launch, she remembers, used older balloons.  The group of students found out that as balloons age, the latex weakens and breaks down, causing the balloons to fail ascending.  Fortunately, Foster’s group managed to have a backup balloon and enough helium for a second one.  Foster also remembers a difficult launch when the wind gusts were above 15 mph, making it difficult to hold the balloon during the filling and tie-in processes.  “We were able to get the balloon up and then changed our launch protocol to lower ground wind speeds,” says Foster.

But how are the students able to retrieve the balloons after launch?  The balloons have two or three tracking systems that receive feedback while in the air, particularly from the HABHUB tracker.  The HABHUB tracker is able to predict where the balloon is going to land, thanks to an APRS radio attached to the balloon, which transits data.  The group then flies one or two SPOT tracking devices to find the location data after landing because of the APRS’s poorer frequency at lower altitude.  The second SPOT is only flown as a precaution in case the first one fails.  The group also runs flight path and landing site predictions before launch on the HABHUB predictor website, and they delay launches to prevent the balloon from landing near water, airports, or highly populated areas.  In case the payload stack is separated or missing a piece of equipment, the boxes are labeled with the group contact information and can be returned.  “One of the previous groups had a payload box mailed back to them,” says Foster.     

Foster is thankful for her time in the KAMS program, citing the access to unique opportunities and the sense of family as her favorite elements.  Additionally, she enjoys math research with Dr. Keith Dreiling and spending time spent at the Destination Imagination competition.  As advice for future students, Foster notes how difficult the program is, but the knowledge gained and opportunities are worth the struggle—as well as the bond the KAMS students have.  “These two years may not be easy, but in the end it will pay off,” says Foster.

Study Abroad Poster Presentation

by: Eric Menendez, English 448 Writing Intern

 London Poster Presentation2

On February 3rd 2017, KAMS students returned after their 10-day trip from London to give out their presentations of famous scientists.  The students picked scientists that have graduated from London’s Cambridge University and created posters that detailed what their choice had done for science.  The presenters were Katherine A. Weisenborn, Jacob Schneider, Tessa Kriss, Ana Goodlett, Elaine Parkinson, Eli Munson, Annie Hinds, Marisa Carman, and Graham Straley, all of whom respectively presented their posters over Ernest Rutherford, James Chadwick, Ludwig Wittgenstein, J.J. Thomson, Jocelyn Bell Burnell, Stephen Hawking, Rosalind Franklin, Julius Robert Oppenheimer, and Hans Adolf Krebs.

During their trip, many of the students admitted to having a great time in London.  “We’ve seen so much stuff it was hard to pick a favorite,” said Munson.  Munson also added on why traveling was a great experience for the program, “I think traveling in general opens people’s minds to other cultures.”

This was agreed upon by Schneider who said, “It was awe-inspiring.  It was really difficult to absorb everything you see.”

Parkinson expressed how she really liked the British museum and how she went through 4 exhibits before getting out, “I’d love to go back for that.”

Some of the students also chose their scientists over how much of an inspiration they turned out to be for other people.  Hinds dedicated her scientist, Franklin, for the impact she had over female scientists.  She said she was glad that more women found out about her work and became interested in science, “A lot of women are interested in science because of how much work she did and how little credit she got.” 

Of course, other students picked their choices simply because they really enjoyed their scientist’s work.  Weisenborn said that Ruftherford’s tinfoil experiment was her favorite work he did because he was still director of Cavendish and that the experiment was in the dark.  Carman stated that she was interested in discussing the mass effect of Roppenheimer’s life caused by his experiment and it’s negative impact on him.  Schneider admitted that he initially wanted to do Aran Tusain, but circumstances chose him to pick Chadwick, not that he minded as he enjoyed the cartoon series as he stated, even having a few stamps from Physicists on Stamps that showed stamps of Chadwick. 

The KAMS program explores opportunities to allow students to immerse themselves in new cultures and countries. The London trip was the second international program in the last year offered to students. In May, students will be traveling to South Korea to join with their partner school, the Daejeon Science High School for the Gifted, for a research and cultural experience.



 KAMS Junior from Republic to Present Research in Topeka

by: Patrick Vulgamore

On February 11, Brie Little and four others represented Fort Hays State University (FHSU) by presenting their respective research at the Kansas Undergraduate Research Day at the Capitol. Little, from Republic, Kansas, is currently a high school junior in her second semester at the Kansas Academy of Mathematics and Science (KAMS) at FHSU.

Based on data from the National Trends Network, Little’s research considered a correlation between the PH levels of precipitation in the state of Washington and the 1980 eruption of Mount Saint Helens.

“Volcanoes emit a lot of gases,” said Little, “and SO 2, or sulfur dioxide, is one of the main gases they emit. It’s also one of the main causes of acid rain.”

Little’s research began as a project for her geoscience class. Since then, it has traveled to Topeka for a science-fair style presentation to state representatives and the public. Only five students from each Kansas Board of Regents Institution may present at the capitol, and this year, three of FHSU’s presenters are in the KAMS program.

“I was able to explore the capitol and tell representatives why my research is important,” Little said. “The structure was very personalized, so I would address one or two people at a time. It was a fun experience.”

Little has also applied for two additional competitions, including the Kansas Science Fair on February 28 and the Junior Sciences Humanities Synopsis at Oklahoma State on March 6 and 7.

KAMS Senior Accepted to Present Research in Topeka

by: Patrick Vulgamore

For the second year in a row, MaRyka Smith, KAMS senior out of Hoyt, Kansas, was selected to attend the Kansas Undergraduate Research Day at the Capitol. On Wednesday, February 11, Smith and four others represented Fort Hays State University in Topeka by presenting their respective research. 

Smith’s research project, entitled “Myth Vs. Fact: Misconceptions Between Consumers and Midwestern Producers,” compares the average person’s knowledge of animal agriculture to that of someone with a background in agriculture.

“Out of the 180 respondents to my survey, about half had backgrounds in agriculture,” said Smith. “I then compared the percent correct from each group and found a significant statistical difference in knowledge of animal agriculture.” 

 Smith’s data indicated a startling lack of agricultural knowledge among average people. She found that some of the respondents believed even the most shocking myths, such as this particularly disturbing idea surrounding chocolate milk.

“It’s frustrating to see how some people believe ridiculous misconceptions,” Smith said, “like that chocolate milk contains chocolate only to hide blood in the milk. Some people actually believe that.

 ”It is only natural that Smith chose this topic to research, as she grew up in rural Hoyt, tending horses and actively participating in 4-H.

“Agriculture and food sustainability are all very important to me, and it’s sad when I see people on social media with huge misconceptions about agriculture.”

This is not the first time Smith has participated in Kansas Undergraduate Research Day at the Capitol. Last year, she presented her research on the correlation between the grasslands of the Sierra Nevada ecoregion and the rising number of California mustangs. Her research earned third place at the State Science Fair, which she plans to revisit this year with her new research.

As a student of the Kansas Academy of Mathematics and Science, Smith has a bright future ahead of her. She has already been accepted to Kansas State University, where she will complete her prerequisites for veterinary school in just one year.

“I recommend KAMS to all the underclassmen at my high school. The research opportunities alone will make getting into veterinary school that much easier.”

Only five students from each Kansas Board of Regents Institution can be accepted to the Research Day at the Capitol, and this year, three of FHSU’s candidates are in the KAMS program.

“I thought science fairs were just in the movies. Then I come to KAMS and get gold at regionals and third at state. And if not for KAMS, I wouldn’t have even been considered for the Research Day at the Capitol.”

Student from first class of KAMS finds success in the real world

 by: Patrick Vulgamore

As a member of the first ever class of the Kansas Academy of Mathematics and Science (KAMS) at Fort Hays State University, Seth Gooding is no stranger to success. His achievements display the program’s ability to find and challenge talented, motivated individuals, preparing them for even greater success after college.

In addition to being in the first class of KAMS, Gooding, who is twenty-one years old, will also be the first student from KAMS to enter a job in his field immediately after graduation, a huge achievement for both Gooding and the KAMS program.

Gooding began his higher education in August, 2009, after his high pre-ACT scores prompted a letter from the KAMS department. He attended an information session soon after in Wichita, KS, with KAMS director Ron Keller, which piqued his interest in KAMS and ultimately led to his attendance.

“The biggest thing I’ve talked about in interviews,” said Gooding, “was starting college when I was sixteen. It’s probably the biggest eye-catcher on my résumé.”

While in KAMS, Gooding took nineteen or more credit hours of college courses each semester, which simultaneously contributed to his high school and college degrees, and he spent most of his time researching biochemistry with a chemistry professor. He was also president of the Chemistry Club, as well as an active member of the Astronomy Club.

“If I had to go back and do it again, I would,” said Gooding

Gooding will graduate this May with a Bachelors of Science in chemistry with an emphasis in biochemistry.

After graduation, Gooding will be working for the newly merged Nalco Champion, an Ecolab company that specializes in providing chemistry programs for oil and gas operations. He will work as service representative/consultant in the oil fields of North Dakota.

“In ten years,” said Gooding, “I can see myself holding a respectable management position in a chemical company, and this job is the perfect way to get my foot in the door.”

FHSU is proud to see a student from its first class of KAMS succeeding in the real world.

“It was great to be surrounded by people as motivated as me in KAMS,” said Gooding. “It was cool to have a community of like-minded individuals, because I don’t think I could have done it alone.”

KAMS Alumna attains Bachelors of Science at 19

 by: Patrick Vulgamore

Elsie Suhr, an animal science major from Sabetha, Kans. is receiving her Bachelors of Science degree from Kansas State University at the early age of nineteen.

Ever since her pursuit of higher education began when she was sixteen, Suhr has had a very active life. She entered into the Kansas Academy of Mathematics and Science (KAMS) in 2010, which allowed her to take college-level courses at Fort Hays State University while in high school, simultaneously contributing to her high school and college degrees.

“KAMS prepared me for Kansas State better than anything else,” said Suhr. “I think the toughest classes I’ve taken in my college career have been during KAMS.”

While in KAMS, Suhr was an FHSU VIP ambassador and a member of the honor society. She was also involved in FFA, or Future Farmers of America, indicating an early interest in agricultural science.

Suhr attended the American Association of Cereal Chemists conference in the fall of 2011 in Palm Springs California to network for a non-profit organization called Grains of Hope, which specializes in providing food aid to areas in need, such as Haiti or Mozambique.

At the same time, Suhr was conducting research on different methods of drying foods for Mozambique’s wet season, looking at oven drying, infra-red drying, or even solar drying as options.

During her time at Kansas State, Suhr was an officer in the Alpha Clovia Scholarship house. She is also a part of the Kansas State Meat Judging Team, which has given her the chance to travel to Texas, New York and even Australia where the team took first place in the competition.

Suhr has been accepted into to the early-entry Masters program at Kansas State, and she will begin her study of veterinary biomedical science this August.

“KAMS really taught me how to focus on schoolwork and still balance other things,” said Suhr. “I feel like I’m ready for any class the teachers can throw at me.”

 KAMS composition class stirs Oakley Conference with class project.

 by: Patrick Vulgamore

The Kansas Academy of Mathematics and Science has a reputation for inspired students. Fort Hays State University English professor Linda Smith and her composition class of all KAMS students epitomize the Academy’s high standard of achievement.

After an intensive feasibility study, orchestrated by Smith and carried out by the students in their first semester, the class found that the resources and time of gifted facilitators, who travel from school to school to aid in gifted education, were highly limited. “The worst-case scenario I’ve seen,” said Smith, “is a gifted facilitator available to work with a gifted student for only thirty minutes, once a week because either the travel time is prohibitive, or the schools don’t have the staff.”

The students’ personal experiences were consistent with their findings. “We weren’t being challenged,” said Tammy Nguyen, KAMS junior. “Typically, gifted programs are supposed to help highly motivated students who need a challenge, and we found that a lot of us didn’t have a gifted program that worked.”

Hoping to assist gifted educators in the gifted learning environment, the KAMS students created the Kansas Gifted Education Database (KGED). “The website is basically a database for gifted facilitators and gifted students to access some resources we thought would help their education and academics,” said Nguyen.

The KGED itself is easy to navigate. After specifying if you are a gifted student, gifted teacher, or the parent of a gifted student, you can select any category of study, such as mathematics or English, and you are taken to a series of websites with the appropriate learning activities or programs.

“One thing educators can do,” said Smith, “is go to this repository of the best resources, select what they need, and then complement or augment what they can do with their gifted students.”

The KAMS students have also included videos documenting their own experiences with high school education.

The KAMS Project for Gifted Education began with an intensive feasibility study in their composition class, orchestrated by Professor Smith and carried out by the students in their first semester, after which they obtained a Dane G. Hansen grant for the development of the KGED.

The students then divided into four groups, each with specific areas of focus, and set to work on the website’s completion. The task was made more difficult, however, as the students were still required to complete their composition coursework on top of the project.

On April 10, with the help of gifted facilitator Valarie Brown-Kuchar from the Northwest Kansas Educational Service Center, the students were able to debut the website at the KAMS Rural Gifted Forum in Oakley, KS. The presentation was well-received by the room-full of gifted teachers, and was immediately followed by a multitude of eager questions from those excited about the future of the project.

“I wasn’t sure if the website was ready to be presented to so many important people,” said Nguyen,” but the fact that they all responded positively and are excited about what we’re doing is really amazing.”

The KAMS students have also been invited to present their work at the North-central Kansas Educational Service Center in Philipsburg on May 2, as well as at a Kansas Gifted and Talented Consortium Summer Seminar in Hays this fall.

The work of these KAMS students brings hope to gifted programs in the future. “A lot of us feel an emotional connection with the project,” said Kayce Feldkamp, another KAMS junior and Communications Coordinator. “We didn’t feel like we got the education we should have, which was upsetting.”

Four teams of KAMS students comprised the project work-force: Web Design, with Yeong Su Han (South Korea), Gregory Kenyon (Topeka), and Cooper Cummings (Derby)—Photo/Video, with Addison Townsley (Haysville), Lucas Barnes (Topeka), and Victor Wang (China)—Outreach, with Tammy Nguyen (Russell), Adan Rosales (Liberal), and Noah Stapleton (Wichita)—and Research, with Logan Heinrichs (Ulysses) and Kayce Feldkamp (Seneca).

You can visit the KGED at kged.weebly.com. See the product of these talented young KAMS students’ hard work as they continue to make outstanding achievements in a college environment at Fort Hays State University.

Kansas Academy of Mathematics and Science student Brad Leupold to attend exclusive University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine

 by: Patrick Vulgamore

Fort Hays State University KAMS senior Bradley Leupold from Hiawatha, KS was selected from a large pool of students for the six-year baccalaureate/medical degree program at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine.

The program gives students the opportunity to acquire a medical degree in six years rather than the usual eight. The students learn from trained professionals in a clinical setting, giving them the chance to interact with real-world patients in real-world situations.

“KAMS has given me a head start in my classes,” said Leupold. “Instead of taking 20-22 hours a semester, I’ll be more in the 16-18 hour range.”

The B.A./M.D. Program recruits from over 1000 student applicants, and the council selects 320 applicants to interview. Leupold submitted his application in November, and his interview took place in February. He is now 1 of the total 115 selected for the program.

“If I had not been a part of KAMS,” said Leupold, “I feel like they would have just glanced over my application.”

Leupold will begin his coursework in the fall semester of 2014 as a student of medicine. He is currently interested in oncology, but does not want to limit himself to any specific field at this point in his education.

KAMS alumna attains Chicago fellowship in medical physics

 by: Patrick Vulgamore

The Kansas Academy of Mathematics and Science (KAMS) excels at preparing students for challenging future opportunities. Nyasha Maforo, a former KAMS student at the end of her second year at Fort Hays State University, has been accepted into an exclusive fellowship, sponsored by the American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM), which will take place at the University of Chicago.

This summer, Maforo will partner with a medical physicist to study and research breast cancer over a 10 week period. It will give her the opportunity to work one-on-one with a professional in her field of choice.

“This fellowship should be able to answer some of my questions and help direct me where to go in the field of medical physics,” said Maforo.

The amount of students accepted to the fellowship is very small, with 6 in 2013, and only 2 in 2012. The application process required three recommendations, which she received from (). Because of her previous attendance at KAMS, Maforo was able to talk more about her college experience in her application.

“Going through KAMS opened a lot of doors,” said Maforo. “I gained discipline and learned how to study. It gave me an edge over the other students.”

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       KAMS Press Release - - October 4, 2013

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