Ali Bannwarth Ali Bannwarth, c'06, j'06

Additional honors and achievements:
Watkins-Berger Scholar (2002-2006)
Mortar Board (2005-2006)
Phi Beta Kappa (2006)
Kappa Tau Alpha Journalism Honor Society (2006)
JayWalk Advisory Board Chair and Volunteer (2003-2006)
Jayhawker Yearbook Hilltopper Award (2005)
Kansas Connections Founding Member (2005-2006)
Junior/Senior College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Senator (2004-2005)
All Scholarship Hall Council Social Chair (2004-2005)
Watkins Scholarship Hall Social Chair (2003-2004)
Watkins Scholarship Hall Alumnae Chair (Spring 2003)
National Residence Hall Honorary Secretary (2004-2005)
LeaderShape Graduate (2004)

How I became interested in my area of study/research/discipline:
My roommate at Watkins Scholarship Hall helped first ignite my interest in the legal profession. While helping her research different fields of study, I discovered my own interest in law. As she continued her search, I pursued this interest further. I decided to engage myself in several law-related activities such as working at a local law office and enrolling in a pre-law focused seminar class. As a junior, I accepted a job as Peer Educator for the Law and Society Thematic Learning Community and organized activities that exposed participants to a wide variety of experiences within the study of law. It was my experience with the Pre-Law Institute in Cambridge, England, that finalized my decision to pursue a legal education. Through the Institute, I discovered my fascination with the intricacies and complexities of the law.

An honor, achievement or accomplishment that is most meaningful to me:
This past spring, I was selected as the recipient of the 2006 Campanile Award. Established by the Class of 2000, the Campanile Award is presented to a graduating senior who has displayed “remarkable leadership, strength of character and respect for the university.” I am extremely honored that my peers, the Board of Class officers, felt I exemplified these characteristics and was deserving of the award. Additionally, I had the honor of joining the Chancellor’s platform during commencement. Standing in front of my peers on graduation day was one of my most memorable and cherished moments. I was priviledged to represent the ideals of the University, but most especially, the Class of 2006.

Someone I admire:
By simply stepping foot on campus, it is easy for one to see the tremendous impact Elizabeth Miller Watkins has had on the University of Kansas, its faculty, and most importantly, its students. Atop Mount Oread stands the Chancellor’s residence, once the very home of Mrs. Watkins and then donated to the University upon her death. Beside the grandiose white house rest two yellow-brick houses, Watkins Scholarship Hall and Miller Scholarship Hall, both established by Mrs. Watkins to provide housing for women in pursuit of an academic education. Further down the hill, one can find Watkins Memorial Hospital. The legacy of Elizabeth Miller Watkins can also be seen through her gifts to the University and the many scholarships that are granted to worthy students.

As a resident of Watkins Scholarship Hall and beneficiary of several Watkins scholarships, I have experienced first-hand the fruits of Mrs. Watkins’ philanthropy. By living in Watkins Scholarship Hall, I have gained the social, leadership, and life skills necessary to be a successful person in all aspects of life. I cannot even begin to describe all the ways Mrs. Watkins has touched my life, from financial assistance to learning essential life skills. As many others before me, I will be forever indebted to the generosity of this outstanding lady and the impact she has had on my college experience.

Someone who has been influential or had a significant impact on my life:
So many people have touched my life, and I know that I am a better person because of them. My friends and family have supported me throughout my entire life. They have always encouraged me to chase my dreams and achieve my goals. During the past four years, I have met many more who have enriched me, both intellectually and spiritually. However, there is one person who I would like to recognize as a guiding light during my college career, Wendy Rohleder-Sook.

I first met Wendy my freshman year as a student enrolled in a pre-law-focused seminar. As the Pre-Law advisor, Wendy developed this course to introduce freshman students to the possibilities that a law degree offers. After the seminar course, we remained in contact, and she quickly became my confidante. Eager to advise me on academic matters, Wendy encouraged my interest and exploration of the legal profession, as well as my involvement in extra-curricular activities. She is an inspiration for students, faculty and staff. My personal relationship with Wendy is just one testimony of her devotion to the academic and personal growth of students.

Most favorite/least favorite memory as a student:
I will never forget the night when the men’s basketball team beat Marquette to head to National Championship. It was my freshman year and my first true experience of the NCAA tournament and all that is March Madness. As soon as the buzzer signaled the end of the game, my friends and I ran outside to join the cheers erupting across campus. On Wescoe beach, we joined a large crowd that had gathered to celebrate our victory. Cars on Jayhawk Boulevard to Massachusetts Street were almost at a standstill, packed full of people shouting and hollering. Crowds of people walked up and down the streets giving each other high fives and rejoicing. Never before had I experienced such a sense of community and camaraderie. Students, alumni and Lawrence citizens alike came to support the team. For once, everyone was on the same team. That night, I realized that as a student of the University, I was a part of something bigger beyond the boundaries of campus. I could not have been more proud of my alma mater.

An important life lesson I have learned:
Growing up in a small Kansas town gave me a different perspective than many of my colleagues at the University. I felt comfortable in my hometown. In contrast, the University of Kansas was an expansive place where I knew very few people. Faced with a large and diverse student body, I found myself challenged to discover the person I was, and the person who I wanted to become. I began a discovery of my values, beliefs and desires.

This process defined three keys areas of my life, my intellectual curiosity, devotion to community and the development of citizen responsibility. At the intellectual level, I have developed into a critical thinker, who looks beyond the black and white to discover the shades of gray. I have expanded my academic interests to comprise a wide array of topics. Though my initial intention was to study journalism, my interests now include politics, law and international relations.

Though academics played a major role in my college experience, this experience would not be complete without my outreach into the community. It was the women of Watkins Scholarship Hall who encouraged me to reach my highest potential. Taking their lead, I became an involved member of the hall, the scholarship hall system, and the University. From these involvements, I discovered my role and responsibility as a citizen, not just at the local level, but also at the national and international levels. I gained a new outlook on life, a deeper understanding of human relationships and a stronger commitment of service to others.

Thus, my greatest life lesson came from living life itself. Four years ago, I could not have even begun to imagine where life would lead me. Now as I prepare to enter the world, I am armed with new ideas, experiences and goals. I know that I am ready, and eager, to face the challenges I may encounter in my future endeavors.

A favorite quote or saying:
In a world of black and white, be the splash of red.

I wrote that quotation, and to me, it means to live life to the fullest. Don’t be afraid to be different and stand out from the crowd. Carpe diem-the world is waiting for you to make a move.

My hopes for the world:
Respect and acceptance—every individual, society and culture is different, but rather than discriminating against these differences, I wish for all to celebrate and rejoice in their diversity. Diversity is what makes our world so vibrant and amazing. There is so much to learn from others that we should take advantage of every opportunity. Individuals may differ in their way of life, but we all share our humanity.