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Senior Project Leads to Major Grant

A senior project by a Leadership Southwestern student may lead to better dental health for hundreds of youngsters in Cowley County.

Stephanie Youngers ’03 wrote the grant that led to an award of $47,500 from the Kansas Health Foundation for dental education in Cowley County. Working with Pam Moore ’96, executive director of Legacy (a community foundation), Youngers organized meetings with area dentists, health department, and Head Start personnel. She then wrote the successful proposal for a two-year education program.

Now a curriculum is being designed to help improve the dental health of Cowley County children, especially toddlers. More than 1,000 kids are expected to be helped in the first year, Moore says.

Builders will want their own copies of Builderopoly, now available from members of the volleyball team. The adaptation of the popular board game will help raise funds for a team trip to Tennessee. For more information contact coach Julie Konrade, jkonrade@sckans.edu, or call (620) 229-6241.

Karen Beneke Builds Bridges

Karen Bencke, a senior from Bartlesville, built bridges over continents during the spring semester when she studied in Quito, Ecuador. A student in the college’s intensive foreign language program, Bencke studied at the Academia Latinoamericana during the mornings for 10 weeks, and volunteered at in an afterschool care program for children 5-12 years old. With the use of the Internet, Bencke connected children in Ecuador with children in a second grade class at Richard Kane Elementary School in Bartlesville. (Judy Bencke, Karen’s mother, is an assistant in the Bartlesville class.)

Letters were scanned and sent as picture files to Bencke in Ecuador. She printed the letters and translated them into Spanish, delivering them to the children in the project.

After the children in Quito wrote letters to the Oklahoma children, Bencke took pictures of the letters with her digital camera, downloaded them to her laptop computer, and translated the letters into English. She copied the files onto a floppy disc and took it to an Internet café to send them back to Oklahoma. Karen also was able to send pictures of the places and people she came to know in Ecuador.

Kane students wrote about themselves, their families, their school, and even about a snowstorm in February, describing snow to children who may never have seen snow.

Karen is shown at left reviewing Spanish words with the Oklahoma students after she returned in the spring.

Vail Top KU Med School Teacher

Belinda Vail ’76, professor in the department of family medicine at the university of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City was named winner of the Rainbow Award for Teaching the Art of Medicine by Example. The award is given by the medical students each year to honor the physician/teacher who most represents the title of the award.

Dr. Vail also has been selected as the 2003 Exemplary Teacher of the Year by the Kansas Academy of Family Physicians. The award is based on nominations and votes from physicians in the state of Kansas. The Kansas academy will nominate her for the national award, which will be announced in October.

She lives in Prairie Village with her husband, Richard Bené, a plastic surgeon in private practice in Kansas City, and four of her children, Matthew, Michael, and Morgan Bené and Dustin Carrillo. Her oldest daughter, Ryan Carillo, lives in Phoenix.

Irene Fulcher: 100 Years Young

Irene Fulcher, who was employed at Southwestern College from 1958 to 1968, turns 100 on Oct. 14, 2003. At Southwestern, she was a house mother at the old Smith Hall, served as part-time hostess for the college, and managed the college bookstore. Irene continues to live by herself in Overland Park, and remains involved with her family—daughter Judy and John Stephens ’61 ’61 and their family. She has three grandchildren and four great grandchildren. Irene would enjoy hearing from people who knew her while she was at Southwestern. Contact Irene at 8580 Farley St Apt 305, Overland Park KS 66212-4623, or at 913-383-1967.