Ruth Anne French-Hodson

2005-2006
Ruth Anne French-Hodson

Are there honors/achievements/special recognition you would like to list that are not included above?

  • Phi Beta Kappa (junior year)
  • Third place in the 2004 Peterson Prize Undergraduate Writing Competition through the Willamette University College of Law Center for Law and Government for "The Tenth Amendment: The Rehnquist Court in Relation to the Framers' Ideals and Historical Interpretations"
  • Undergraduate Teaching Assistant for History 636 Agriculture in World History
  • Political Science Eldon Field Award for outstanding graduating senior in Political Science (May 2005)
  • Pi Sigma Alpha award for political science senior completing departmental honors (May 2005)
  • Undergraduate Research Award for research and interviews in Washington D.C. regarding the Data Quality Act (Spring 2004)
  • Gustafson Scholarship from the KU Political Science Department - top junior in political science (Spring 2003)
  • What led you to your area of study/field of interest?
    I am interested academically in how regulatory agencies mediate between the public and congressional and executive policies. I come from a part of the state where many people feel disconnected from government, especially governmental rules and regulations. I am interested in how ideas of participatory democracy can be applied to regulatory agencies. By increasing participation, I hope that people can understand regulations better and that regulations will also better fit the unique situations of communities and watersheds.

    What honor, achievement or accomplishment is most meaningful to you? Why?
    This is a really hard question for me to answer. The most prestigious honor that I have received is the Rhodes Scholarship. I have been given the opportunity to study at one of the world's most esteemed academic institutions, Oxford University, with a group of students who genuinely care about changing the world for the better. I feel so honored to be chosen within this group. However, I feel as if I never would be in the situation I am today without being chosen as a University Scholar. Not only did I get to critically discuss issues with some of KU's brightest students, but through the program I met three of the people for whom I did research: Sidney Shapiro, Donald Worster, and Lance Burr. This research experience was critical in my development as a scholar.

    Who has been influential or had a significant impact on your life? Please elaborate. (Please include individuals at KU as appropriate.)
    I have so many to list... My mother and father, Lisa and Jim French, as well as all of my extended family instilled in me a love of learning. I was always encouraged to read, explore, and question. No one ever doubted that I could reach whatever goals I set for myself. My husband, Jake Hodson, has been my biggest cheerleader and refuses to let me get down on myself. He also challenges me to think critically and explain things clearly. Professor Allan Cigler in the KU Political Science Department has been my mentor and friend since my first semester of college at the University. He always encouraged me to aim high! When I came to the University, I was interested in environmental issues, but through my classes and research with Professor Donald Worster, I have refined my understanding of the issues. He also helped solidify my interest in teaching by giving me the chance to help teach an undergraduate class in the spring of 2005. Professors Sidney Shapiro and David Gottlieb in the KU School of Law both gave me the opportunity to do research on very interesting and widely diverse topics. Carolyn Johnson, lecturer in political science, challenged me to apply myself in the classroom and encouraged me to pursue my legal dreams. While I was initially hesitant about going to law school, my time in Mrs. Johnson's class developed my interest in the law. She has also been a friend and a mentor to me when I have struggled with what to do and where to go. Kelley Massoni, graduate teaching assistant in sociology, was a terrific teacher, but more importantly, a terrific social support. She provided a female outlook on school and life for me when I had so many male professors. She also made me realize the importance of keeping up connections and social supports with the women that I care for! Last but definitely not least is Judge Deanell Reece Tacha as well as her clerks (especially Lou Mulligan) and staff. I enjoyed both the intellectual challenges and family atmosphere in the office. But more specifically, Judge Tacha taught me that it is possible to balance commitments to family, the community, and work. She is an inspiration to me as I look toward my future!

    Why do you believe it is important to recognize women for their accomplishments?
    I think that it is important to show that women can excel, especially in areas that are often male dominated. More importantly, I think it is important to highlight the new ideas and leadership styles that women bring to the table. While reading Marie C. Wilson's Closing the Leadership Gap, I realized how both men and women can benefit when women are encouraged to take on leadership roles. We should strive to do everything we can to encourage the next generation of female leaders.

    What is a most favorite/least favorite memory as a student?
    I have lots of great memories from my time at KU (too many to list), but I have always enjoyed having coffee with Dr. Cigler and discussing the state of the nation. My least favorite memory was my first month at the University. I had taken a year off from college and came from a small town in central Kansas. I was intimidated and scared about whether I would live up to my expectations. I had many sleepless nights worrying about my ability to handle college life.

    What is your definition of success?
    To be happy with where I am on many dimensions family, community involvement, school, working, etc.

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