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TWO ARE NAMED
ADELSTEIN OUTSTANDING STUDENTS

By Selena Stevens

 

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Partha S. Mohapatra and Matthew T. Springer received the Carol S. Adelstein Outstanding Student Award, which honors students with disabilities who have inspired the university community through academic achievement, leadership, extracurricular activities or social and personal qualities.

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April 9, 2002 (Lexington, Ky.) -- Two University of Kentucky students have been honored for their achievements in the face of adversity.

Partha S. Mohapatra and Matthew T. Springer are the recipients of the 2002 Carol S. Adelstein Outstanding Student Award. The award, given by UK's Disability Resource Center, honors students with disabilities who have inspired the university community through academic achievement, leadership, extracurricular activities or social and personal qualities.

Mohapatra, a doctoral student in decision sciences in the Gatton College of Business and Economics, deals daily with the sometimes severe side effects of a childhood bout with polio.

At UK, Mohapatra, a native of India, has been a leader within the International Student Association, has coordinated events focusing on Indian culture and arts, and participates in charity work. He also is a teaching assistant for his college and the singer in a local group that performs the music of his home region.

He was nominated for the award by two Gatton College professors, Jason D. Shaw and Ram Pakath, who were impressed with his academic performance, a 4.0, as well as his "hugely likeable" personality.

"If this involvement were observed for someone with full physical capabilities, it would be noteworthy," wrote Shaw. "For someone who experiences physical inconveniences and difficulties like Partha, it is truly remarkable and inspiring."

Springer, a post baccalaureate student in English, earned his bachelor's degree in English in December 2001. Despite living with a learning disability, Springer maintains a B average by beginning assignments weeks in advance and meticulously studying every aspect.

Between semesters, Springer counsels youth as a Boy Scout Master and led a program for disadvantaged children at the YMCA in his hometown of Henderson. Fellow students, Charles Combs and Carrie Sisto, nominated Springer for the award.

"Had I not been told Matthew had a learning disability, I never would have known. The help he provides others with their writing reflects a gift, not a limitation," Combs wrote. "Whenever I become discouraged with school or anything at all, I reflect on my experiences with Matthew."

Springer is the son of Tom and Mary Springer of Henderson.

The award is named for the late Carol S. Adelstein, wife of retired UK English professor Michael Adelstein, who passed away in March. Carol Adelstein, who used a wheelchair because of polio, provided an inspiration to persons with disabilities by leading a meaningful, successful life at a time when individuals with disabilities were not encouraged to be independent and contributing members of society.


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