Law alumni, faculty honored for achievements, service, careers

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The Hon. Julie Robinson is inducted into the KU Women's Hall of Fame, April 7,2015LAWRENCE — Twenty women with ties to the University of Kansas were honored April 7 during the 2015 Women’s Recognition Banquet hosted by the Emily Taylor Center for Women & Gender Equity.

Event organizers inducted six women into the KU Women’s Hall of Fame as well as presented honors to a number of outstanding students, faculty and staff at KU. 

“KU has such a rich history of women who lead and make our community and our world a better place,” said Kathy Rose-Mockry, director of the Emily Taylor Center. “It’s a privilege to honor these individuals and add to this growing legacy of involvement and achievement.”

The Women’s Hall of Fame has honored more than 200 exemplary KU alumnae, faculty and staff women since 1970. It recognizes those who through their significant contributions and achievements, overall effect and outstanding character, serve as role models for students as career women and community leaders.

The Hall of Fame is on the fifth floor of the Kansas Union. A complete list of Women’s Hall of Fame inductees and their accomplishments is available online. In addition to the inductees, 14 women were honored as recipients of 11 different awards.

The Emily Taylor Center for Women & Gender Equity provides leadership and advocacy in promoting gender equity and challenging gender-related barriers that impede full access and inclusion. The center raises awareness of critical issues, provides opportunities to translate awareness into action and empowers individuals to advocate for themselves and others.

About this year’s inductees and honorees recipients:

Women’s Hall of Fame inductees      

Ann M. Brill, doctorate, dean of the William Allen White School of Journalism & Mass Communications.

Brill joined the journalism school in 2000 and became dean in 2004.  Brill also serves as the president of the Association of Schools of Journalism and Mass Communication (ASJMC), in addition to taking many other national leadership roles.

The school has flourished under her leadership and has received numerous grants from national foundations. She initiated significant curriculum revision for the school and oversaw the launch of its first doctoral program. Brill is dedicated to the students and has been extremely successful in raising support for the school.  She has created and endowed multiple new scholarships and awards, which greatly benefit the students, the school and the university. Her peers and colleagues describe Dean Brill as visionary.

Connie Burk, 1990 KU alumna, activist and author, NW Network of Bisexual, Trans, Lesbian and Gay Survivors of Abuse

Burk’s career of advocacy and activism began while she was studying at KU. As a student on campus, Burk was a member of many organizations — such as the February Daughters and Students Against Violence Against Women — and fought for progressive change. This activism spurred Burk to work for Women’s Transitional Care Services (now the Willow Domestic Violence Center in Lawrence), where she eventually became co-director. Under her leadership, the center expanded from sheltering survivors to raising awareness and educating the community about domestic violence. Burk also served as vice president of the Kansas Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

In 1997, Burk moved to Seattle to direct the NW Network of Bisexual, Trans, Lesbian and Gay Survivors of Abuse (The NW Network). Since then, Burk’s vision, focus and optimism has led the NW Network to new heights. With her guidance, the network established the National LGBT Training & Technical Assistance Initiative and the National Q&A Institute. In addition to her job as the executive director of the network, Burk also is executive producer of the award-winning documentary “A Lot Like You” and co-author of the book “Trauma Stewardship: An Everyday Guide to Caring for Self While Caring for Others.” 

The Hon. Karen Mitchell Humphreys, 1970 and 1973 KU alumna, juris doctor, U.S. magistrate judge

As an undergraduate, Karen Mitchell Humphreys was an honors student. She was inducted into both CWENS and Mortar Board as well as being chosen as the outstanding woman of her sorority. She was one of only 12 women admitted to the School of Law in 1970.

In 1978, Humphreys was appointed to the position of district judge for the 18th Judicial District in Sedgwick County. She remained in this position until 1993, when she was appointed as U.S. magistrate judge. KU’s Emily Taylor was on the selection committee for Humphreys’ appointment. Humphreys was the first woman to serve in this position. From 2003 to 2013, Humphreys was designated as the chief magistrate judge and led other federal magistrate judges in the area. 

In this position, Humphreys led an effort to create a specialty court, known as KAN-Trac. This program, which assists felony offenders re-entering the community, has been extremely successful. Humphreys has been referred to as the “human glue” which holds the program together. In recognition of her work on KAN-Trac and other programs, she has received many awards from the Kansas Women Attorneys Association, the Wichita Women’s Association, the Kansas Bar Association and the Wichita Bar Association.

Humphreys retired in January after more than 20 years of service to Kansas and more than 40 years in the field. 

Barbara P. Lukert, 1956 and 1960 KU alumna, M.D., professor of medicine emerita, endocrinology and metabolism, KU Medical Center

Dr. Lukert’s career at the KU Medical Center spans more than five decades, beginning with her residency in 1961. Since joining the Department of Medicine faculty in 1965, Lukert has served as the Mary F. Roberts Distinguished Chair in Nutrition, the director of the Osteoporosis Clinic, the Metabolic Laboratory and as the medical director of the Medicine Outpatient Clinic. She has lead or co-authored 96 full-length manuscripts and written 11 books or book chapters, served on the Wyandotte County Medical Society, and she serves on the editorial board for the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

Dr. Lukert is a nationally recognized educator, scholar and researcher. Among her many awards are the Boy Frame Award for Excellence in the Field of Bone and Mineral Metabolism, the KU Chancellor’s Teaching Award in 1982, the School of Medicine Distinguished Alumnus award in 1990 and the Honorary Health Professions Alumnus Award in 1999. Dr. Lukert is also the namesake of the Lukert Academic Society.

The Hon. Julie A.  Robinson, 1978 and 1981 KU alumna, juris doctor, U.S. district judge, District of Kansas

President George W. Bush appointed Robinson as the U.S. district judge for Kansas in 2001. A trailblazer in her field, Robinson is the first African-American woman to be appointed to this position. Robinson has served as a U.S. bankruptcy judge in the District of Kansas, a judge on the 10th Circuit Bankruptcy Appellate Panel and an assistant U.S. Attorney in the District of Kansas. 

Robinson has received numerous awards for her work, including commendations from the Secret Service, the Kansas Dr. M.L. King Jr. Memorial Committee’s Women of Distinction Award, the Baker University Trustee Medallion for Distinguished Public Service Award and the National Bar Association’s Wiley A. Branton Symposium Award. Before her current appointment, Robinson taught trial practice courses at KU. She also has served on the KU School of Law Board of Governors as president and on various committees.

Rosemarie T.  Truglio, doctorate, 1988 and 1990 KU alumna, senior vice president of global curriculum and content, Sesame Workshop

Truglio joined Sesame Workshop in 1997 as the vice president of education and research for Children’s Television Workshop, now known as Sesame Workshop.  In her current role, she is responsible for the development of the curriculum shown on "Sesame Street" and oversees all of the educational research for the show.  Truglio and her team work to enhance the educational and entertainment content of the show. She has written numerous articles, presented her work at international conferences and is the co-editor of ­“G is for Growing: Thirty Years of Research on Children and 'Sesame Street.'”

Truglio’s leadership of the Sesame Workshop creates an incredible legacy. Research has shown that high school students who watched the program when they were in preschool receive better grades in their classes and read more books than the average student.  Truglio, who was only 20 when she began graduate school at KU, has received the Annenberg Public Policy Award for her innovative development process.

Danica Hoose receives the 2015 Outstanding Woman Student in Community Service Award.2015 Award Honorees 

Jo Hardesty, juris doctor, Outstanding Woman Staff Member Award

Hardesty currently serves as the director & managing attorney for KU’s Legal Services for Students (LSS). She has been with LSS for 35 years and has served as director for 29 years. In her time with LSS, Hardesty has demonstrated exemplary passion and leadership. Not only is she dedicated to the office’s mission of providing KU students with legal services and workshops, but she continues to inspire and mentor those around her, both students and colleagues. In addition to her work with KU, Hardesty also has been recognized for her work with the National Legal Aid & Defender Association for her service to the legal community and her commitment to social justice and equality, as well as her work with the IRS’ low-income taxpayer clinic program.

The award honors a female unclassified or classified staff member who, through outstanding work performance, has contributed to the academic and personal growth of KU students.

Danica Hoose, Outstanding Woman Student in Community Service Award

Hoose is a junior studying accounting and economics and a graduate of Parsons High School. She is a senator in KU Student Senate, works in the Office of the Provost and serves as the president for Omega Phi Alpha, KU’s only service sorority. She was elected president of her sorority after only one year as an active member, and the sorority has been very active under her leadership. 

The award honors a woman student who has made outstanding contributions to off-campus organizations or agencies.

Kellyann Jones-Jamtgaard, Outstanding Woman Student in Leadership Award

Jones-Jamtgaard is a doctoral student at the KU Medical Center and graduate of Duke University. She is president of Students Educating and Advocating for Diversity, vice president of the Student Governing Council and former president of Graduate Student Council. In addition she is involved in creating and collaborating on numerous projects and groups at KU. Jones-Jamtgaard also spearheaded the creation of the KUMC Childbirth Accommodation Policy, which is now used as a template at universities across the state. 

The award honors a woman student who has demonstrated outstanding leadership skills by taking an active role in campus or community organizations, developing a new project or addressing a current need.

Sharmin Kader, Outstanding International Woman Student Award

Kader is a doctoral candidate from Bangladesh studying architecture health & wellness with a focus on gerontology. She received her master's degree from Texas A&M University and her bachelor's degree from Bangladesh University of Engineering & Technology. Through her short career, Kader has already earned an international reputation for her academic and professional work. Most recently she received the International Fellowship by the American Association of University Women and the American Institute of Architects’ Arthur Tuttle Jr. Graduate Fellowship in Health Facility Planning and Design. She also presented at the Capitol Research Summit in 2014. Kader served as the founding president of the Bangladesh Student Association at KU, developing community support systems and organizing events in the area. In this role and in her personal life, Kader has served as a mentor and inspiration to many students.

The award honors an international woman student who has demonstrated academic achievement and has made a contribution to the campus and/or community through her involvement.

Jennifer Marcinkowski, Outstanding Non-Traditional Woman Student Award

Marcinkowski is a senior majoring in women, gender, and sexuality studies with a minor in history. She received her G.E.D. in 2001. Marcinkowski has faced many obstacles in her path to receive her degree, but she has persevered and will graduate this spring. Marcinkowski works as an accommodation specialist for the university and serves as the president of AbleHawks and Allies. AbleHawks is a student group dedicated to raising awareness, advocating for accessibility and promoting disability as multicultural issue. Marcinkowski is a passionate advocate and an effective leader. Through her work and her leadership of AbleHawks, KU has become a better place. 

The award honors a nontraditional woman student who has demonstrated academic achievement and has made a contribution to the campus and/or community through her involvement.

Erin McHale, Marlesa & Hannalesa Roney Student Success Mentor Award

McHale is a second-year graduate student at KU pursuing a master’s degree in higher education administration. She is a graduate of Iowa State University. McHale is the higher education graduate assistant for the Student Involvement and Leadership Center.

In her two years at the university, McHale has had an effect on the greek community and the campus community as a whole. She has served on numerous committees, developed programs, taught classes and facilitated retreats. She has been credited with showing passion and care for the students she serves.  McHale has demonstrated noteworthy dedication to sexual violence prevention and education. She has served on the Title IX roundtable, worked with the greek sexual assault task force and developed a program focused on the effects of overconsumption of alcohol and sexual violence. 

The award recognizes a woman graduate or undergraduate student who has contributed to the success of another student.

Shannon Portillo, doctorate, Kathleen McCluskey-Fawcett Woman Mentoring Women Award.           

Portillo currently serves as an assistant professor and the undergraduate program coordinator for the School of Public Affairs and Administration. Women who’ve learned with, through and alongside Portillo point out that she teaches not just directly, but also by example. She is credited with showing deep care for her students through her accessibility and willingness to offer career advice and guidance. Moreover she offers inspiration and encouragement to overcome self-doubts and build confidence among her students.

The award honors a woman student, staff, or faculty member who has demonstrated outstanding commitment to the support and mentoring of women at KU.

Jessie Pringle, Outstanding Woman Student in Partnership Award

Pringle is a junior majoring in history and environmental studies and graduate of Chanute High School.In addition to her academics, Pringle is involved in a sorority and has served as an orientation assistant and as the chairperson for the Finance Committee of KU Student Senate. Within Student Senate, Pringle has impressed her peers and mentors with her ability to lead effectively and to bring people to the table.

The award honors a woman student who has made outstanding contributions to students through her collaborative work and interactions with campus departments, services or organizations.

Monica Saha, Sally Mason Woman Student in Science Award

Saha is a second-year pharmacy student at KU, set to graduate in May 2017. She is a graduate of Blue Valley Northwest High School. Saha co-authored an article titled “Loss of GluN2A-Containing NMDA Receptors Impairs Extra-dimensional Set-Shifting,” which was published in Genes, Brain and Behavior, a notable scientific journal. Saha recently received a travel award through the Harvard Medical School to present at the New England Science Symposium in April. Saha also works with Hawk Link tutoring, is on the executive board for Kappa Psi, the professional pharmaceutical fraternity, and writes for the University Daily Kansan.

The award honors a female undergraduate or graduate student in the sciences who has demonstrated academic excellence, involvement in campus activities, and leadership in her academic department.

Melanie Wilson, juris doctor, Outstanding Woman Educator Award

Wilson currently serves as a professor and as the associate dean for academic affairs for the School of Law. An expert in her field, Wilson has served as an assistant attorney general in Georgia, co-authored four books and many scholarly articles, and she has won numerous awards and commendations for both her work as an attorney and as a professor. In addition to her other roles, Wilson is also the director of diversity and inclusion for the law school. Wilson continues to make sure students feel safe and empowered in every space. Wilson was recently selected to become the next dean of the University of Tennessee College of Law. 

The award honors a female professor, instructor, or student teaching assistant who, through outstanding teaching skills, has contributed to the academic and personal growth of KU students.

Four students were selected to receive the Alma Poehler Brook Memorial Award. The award honors Brook, who served as director of Corbin Hall from 1929 to 1944. Upon her death, friends established the Brook Memorial Fund to recognize worthy and deserving students living at Gertrude Sellards Pearson and Corbin Hall. Hall staff selected these recipients:

Nicole Johnson, sophomore in human biology from Lenexa

Rebekah Navarro, freshman, Holton

Marianne Rogers, freshman, Albuquerque

Victoria Peterson, freshman, Olathe.

KU law school to host nation’s leading annual patent scholarship conference

Thursday, April 09, 2015
LAWRENCE — Infectious diseases kill more than 10 million people each year, most of them in the developing world. The high cost of life-saving drugs is one barrier to treatment. Should strong patent protection, which drives up pharmaceutical prices, keep people from getting the medicine they need to survive?

It’s one of many questions that scholars will explore during the fifth annual Patent Conference on April 10-11 at the University of Kansas School of Law. Patent scholars from nearly a dozen countries and four continents – in law, economics, management science and other disciplines – will share the latest research on patent law, policy and business. The program is free, and registration is not required.

Plenary speakers include Colleen Chien, Santa Clara law professor and former senior adviser to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy; Eric von Hippel, economist and professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management; and A. Christal Sheppard, director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office satellite branch in Detroit.

“One of the most exciting aspects of PatCon is the opportunity not only to share bleeding-edge patent research but also to hear the debates this research spurs among the leading patent experts who attend,” said Andrew Torrance, professor of law and co-founder of the conference. “For example, one of the hottest topics in patent law today involves so-called ‘patent trolls’ and how they either promote or harm innovation. In fact, many of the scholars at PatCon have signed one of two competing letters sent to Congress just two weeks ago raising serious concerns about trolls.”

Other topics will include the role that patents play in inequality, international patent issues, patent policy, how to value complicated property rights like patents, whether patents promote or crush innovation, and exploding interest in design patents.

“Another exciting phenomenon is the rise of ‘big patent data,’ which scholars are increasingly using to answer fundamental questions about the patent system and even to challenge long-accepted legal doctrines,” Torrance said. “Some of the leading ‘big patent data’ experts will be presenting their latest, often surprising, results at PatCon.”

The School of Law hosted the inaugural Patent Conference in April 2011. Affectionately known as PatCon, the conference has snowballed into the country’s leading annual patent scholarship conference. It rotates among the law schools of its founding professors: Torrance; David Olson, Boston College Law School; David Schwartz, Illinois Institute of Technology Chicago-Kent College of Law, and Ted Sichelman, University of San Diego School of Law.

The program is co-sponsored by the KU School of Law, Hovey Williams LLP and Lathrop & Gage LLP.

Preview the schedule and speakers.

New Appointment Holds Clues to Brownback Supreme Court Plan

"Last week, Kathryn Gardner was the second judge confirmed under Kansas’s new method of selecting appellate court judges, and her confirmation gives the state a look at the system Gov. Sam Brownback wants to use for choosing state supreme court justices.


There is absolutely nothing wrong with judges making decisions that reflect the political views held by elected officials, according to Kansas University law professor Steve Ware.

Scholars’ Circle-Trans-Pacific-Trade-Partnership-Status

"We spend the hour exploring what could become the world’s largest trade agreement, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). What could it mean for the countries that are considering signing onto it? Can it be democratic, humanitarian and transparent?

Raj Bhala is the Associate Dean for International and Comparative Law and Rice Distinguished Professor at The University of Kansas School of Law. He is the author of International Trade Law: Interdisciplinary Theory and Practice Documents Supplement and Trade, Development, and Social Justice.

Penn Law alum and ITC Commissioner gives keynote at PIPG symposium on design patents

"On March 19, the Penn Intellectual Property Group featured a symposium on design patents and the convergence of existing intellectual property regimes. The event kicked off with keynote speaker Commissioner F. Scott Kieff L’94 of the U.S. International Trade Commission and featured a panel discussion about the past and future of design patents.

. . . 

Kansas Schools Fight Plays Out Against Backdrop of Debate on Judiciary

"This state’s judicial and legislative branches are on course for a constitutional clash after a state appellate court suggested that it might block a school financing plan that lawmakers passed.

The plan, championed by the conservative-dominated Legislature and the Republican governor, Sam Brownback, cut tens of millions of dollars in aid intended to close disparities between rich and poor districts.

Recent Kansas school finance actions raise several constitutional questions

"A Kansas University law professor said one result of the new school finance law passed by the Legislature this week could be to halt the ongoing lawsuit over school funding and force the plaintiffs to start over with a new case.


But he said another possibility is that the battle between the Legislature and the courts could lead to the kind of constitutional crisis that occurred in 2005, when lawmakers initially refused to comply with a Supreme Court order to increase school funding, and the court threatened to close public schools until the Legislature did comply.

Professor analyzes role of trade sanctions against Iran

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

LAWRENCE — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed Congress on Tuesday as about 50 Democratic lawmakers threatened to boycott the address, offering the latest and one of the most clear microcosms of the debate about Iran’s nuclear program and strained relations among nations. A University of Kansas professor has authored an extensive look at the history of trade sanctions against Iran, noting that while they have had their intended effect, the problems are far from over.

Raj Bhala, associate dean for international & comparative law and Rice Distinguished Professor at the KU School of Law, has published “Fighting Iran With Trade Sanctions” in the Arizona Journal of International and Comparative Law. 

“Iran has been a part of my life since high school. I’ve been fascinated by it; I’ve been frustrated by it for many years,” Bhala said. “I’ve had professional, educational and personal experiences with Iran ever since. The purpose of this article is to explain, analyze and critique the most comprehensive set of trade law sanctions ever imposed by the United States, or any country, against another country.”

Iran’s nuclear ambitions are at the heart of the disagreements. While Iran claims it is not interested in nuclear weapons and only wants to pursue peaceful nuclear energy, the U.S., Israel and many members of the United Nations claim the world simply cannot allow the country to develop nuclear weapons.

Bhala details the four main types of sanctions, imposed by the U.S. and endorsed by the United Nations:

  • Foreign direct investment or FDI
  • Import and export
  • Financial sanctions
  • Human rights sanctions.

The sanctions have had the intended effect of weakening Iran’s economy, Bhala said. The FDI sanctions alone forbid countries from making investments of more than $20 million in Iran’s energy sector.

“We all know Iran is blessed with abundant energy resources. However, it needs to pump that oil and natural gas out of the ground, export it, have it refined, re-import it and sell it, either domestically or internationally,” Bhala said. “Not being able to reap those foreign investments has clearly damaged that vital sector.”

The financial sanctions have also been effective, as any transactions with Iran became illegal under the orders. The sanctions also outlawed correspondent banking, a major feature of international banking and letters of credit involving Iran, the primary instrument of trade finance.

While effective, the sanctions have evolved because they did not quell the behaviors they were intended to stop, Bhala said. In the case of energy exports, Iran has worked around the limitations because of strong demands in nations such as China and India with burgeoning populations in the process of industrialization.

Iran also could circumvent import and export sanctions as transporters, insurers and others did not always know whether the cargo they carried or insured was of Iranian origin or destined for Iran. So, the U.S. brought freight companies and insurers within the ambit of the sanctions regime.

The ability to circumvent sanctions not only led to tightening of restrictions over time, they also generated significant lessons, Bhala said. History shows that sanctions work best when the United States does not act alone and imposes sanctions in concert with allies. The record also suggests the United States should work closely with friends and allies to help them comply with sanctions. 

“It’s not reasonable for India to shift all of its energy needs away from Iran overnight, for example,” Bhala said. “That’s impossible to do and not something that we should expect.”

Actions can have unintended consequences, and they should be monitored to help improve sanctions as well, he wrote. One example is the high rate of plane crashes in Iran due to lack of modern spare parts and high-quality aerospace engineering servicing. Loss of innocent life is not acceptable and can and should lead to improvements to sanctions when it is shown to happen, Bhala said.

With updates, sanctions have achieved their intended outcomes and brought Iran to the bargaining table as an interim nuclear deal is now in place, which Bhala details in the article. While disagreements persist, they are still practical teaching tools for anyone hoping to enter the field of law. The sanctions affect business, real estate, financial, economic and many other sectors of law.

“It’s an incredibly diverse array of sanctions, and there are criminal penalties for violating them,” Bhala said. “It would be malpractice if we were not teaching our students about them, and as a moral issue, it’s a fascinating question of, ‘Do sanctions work, and do we have the right to impose them?’”

The strained relationship between the U.S. and Iran also has the potential to improve. If both sides were able to prevent nuclear armament through sanctions, it would be a triumph of international law and show that negotiations on complex, decades-old problems can work, if they are undertaken in good faith and with empathy.

“I think there’s a lesson of hope here,” Bhala said. “For almost 40 years our relationship with Iran has been extremely poor. I don’t want to see these problems passed on to my daughter and her generation. This is a problem my generation should fix, and I think we can.”


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