Elk grad to speak at Chase Korte Peace Essay awards program

Elk River High School graduate Katie Becklin-Atkinson, Ph.D, class of 2000, will be the guest speaker at the 17th annual Chase Korte Peace Essay awards ceremony at noon Friday, March 18.
The ceremony is open to the public and will be held in Elk River High School’s Zabee Theater.
In 1999, Becklin-Atkinson won the local competition and also received state honorable mention for Minnesota in the National Peace Essay Contest sponsored by the United States Institute of Peace. Elk River High School has produced eight state winners of the contest and 13 honorable mentions since the school began participating in 1995.
Becklin-Atkinson is currently a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kan., where she is researching the effect of changing atmospheric CO2 concentrations on mycorrhizal associations. As an undergraduate Katie majored in biology and minored in English at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Wash., where she was graduated summa cum laude in 2004 as valedictorian of her class. As part of her undergraduate studies, she studied abroad at Griffith University in Queensland, Australia.
After attaining her bachelor of science degree, she was a research technician at Brown University in Providence, R.I.  In 2005, she started graduate school at the University of Missouri in Columbia, Mo., where her research explored the ecology of mycorrhizal associations in alpine plant communities in the Colorado Rocky Mountains.
While in graduate school, she also participated extensively in promoting science literacy in youth and adult populations. Her career goal is to work at a university doing research as well as teaching and mentoring students.
In addition to the awards ceremony, Becklin-Atkinson will speak to Mike Niziolek’s AP and Honors biology students. For information about those presentations, contact Niziolek or Tom Fuller, the coordinator of the ERHS Gifted and Talented program.
The Peace Essay competition, which was renamed the Chase Korte Peace Essay Awards in 2007 to honor the memory of Chase Korte, and the awards ceremony, involve members of ERHS faculty and community as well.
Students entering this year’s Peace Essay competition have researched and submitted essay responses to the question: “For those who hope to prevent violent conflict, how can their efforts to reduce, if not eliminate, corruption best contribute to building sustainable peace?”

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