KAMS students selected to serve as VIP ambassadors, student leaders

Despite a heavy course load, students at the Kansas Academy of Mathematics and Science (KAMS) at Fort Hays State University serve in key leadership positions on campus, including the VIP Ambassadors program and residential life.

"KAMS is an absolutely fantastic experience for students," said Ron Keller, director of KAMS. "They work very hard in an extremely rigorous curriculum yet many of them take on key leadership and service-related roles on the FHSU campus."

Shan Zhong, a current KAMS student from Guizhou, China, was selected to serve as an Anderson VIP Ambassador during the 2014-2015 academic year. Two previous "Trailblazer" KAMS students, Rachel Schmidt, an Atchison senior majoring in physics, and Nyasha Maforo, a Winfield senior majoring in physics, are returning VIP Ambassadors.

Ambassadors serve as official representatives for FHSU at a variety of special events, including Homecoming, athletic activities, presidential dinners and other gatherings. Ambassadors must maintain a minimum 2.5 grade-point-average and be able to assist with nine to 10 events per year.

"As VIP Ambassadors, we serve as student representatives for the school wherever we are needed and interact with the guests at those events," said Schmidt. "Being a VIP Ambassador has been an amazing opportunity because I get to talk to people about why I love Fort Hays State."

"The KAMS program inspired and motivated me to do what I enjoy and work hard to be the best that I can be, and that mindset has shaped my experience here at FHSU," said Schmidt.

Students are also involved with residential life.

Eric Crook, Ottawa, and Alec Weaver, Olathe, both juniors majoring in physics, are residential assistants for Wiest and Custer Halls. Crook and Weaver are part of the 2013 Voyagers graduating class.

"I enjoy being a residential assistant because it allows me to invest in new students and help them become a part of the FHSU community," said Crook. "KAMS has challenged me and brought me out of my comfort zone, allowing me to develop immensely as a student and an individual."

Sam Devore, a Lyons High School senior and KAMS Vanguard class member, will be a residential assistant next year.

A.J. Ladner, a Lawrence Free State High School senior and KAMS Vanguard class member, was elected vice president of the Residence Hall Association for the 2013-2014 school year.

"Both FHSU and KAMS work so hard to help you find your niche: the place that makes hard work and striving for excellence worthwhile," said Schmidt. "At that point, you love what you are doing, and you are surrounded by the entire FHSU environment of a welcoming community of peers and supportive faculty who truly invest in the students."

Composed of the "best and brightest" high school students in the state, KAMS allows students to attend college two years early. Classes are focused in advanced mathematics and science. While studying at KAMS, students live on campus in the dorms with other KAMS students from across Kansas and around the world.

Over the course of two years, students take 68 hours of college credit. These college classes are taken alongside traditional college undergraduates and taught by college professors, while simultaneously contributing to their high school graduation requirements.

For more information about KAMS, contact Keller by phone at 785-628-5973 or by email at rgkeller@fhsu.edu.

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