Dole Institute of Politics Award recipients

May 5, 2022 - News

In this special blog post, we focus on the extraordinary accomplishments of our 2021-2022 Student Advisory Board members. Supporting KU students is at the core of our mission. We’re so proud to honor these students at the conclusion of a great year. We hope you enjoy celebrating them with us.

The 2022 Robert J. Dole Service to Country Award recipient: Raina Peter

Raina Peter at the Dole Institute

The Robert J. Dole Service to Country Award was established by John D. Pinegar, Douglas E. Smith and Pinegar, Smith & Associates, Inc. to provide a $1000 award each year to an active member of the Dole Institute Student Advisory Board. This student must show commitment to public service and demonstrate leadership qualities through their experience with the Dole Institute and the KU community.

Raina Peter was awarded this honor due to the depth of her involvement in public service since high school, as well as the work she has done registering voters and serving as a debate coach for underserved youth.

Raina is a sophomore from Topeka, Kansas studying economics and political science, with a minor in Chinese. She has been a member of the Dole Institute of Politics Student Advisory Board since fall 2020, and during that time, she served as a discussion group coordinator. She is also a member of KU’s Trade War Research Lab. This summer, she will intern in the Office of Investment Affairs at the Department of State. She plans to pursue a law degree following graduation.


The 2022 Elizabeth Dole Public Service Award recipient: Grace Mechler

Grace Mechler at the Dole Institute

The Elizabeth Dole Public Service Award was established by John D. Pinegar, Douglas E. Smith, and Kathleen M. Smith to provide a $1000 award each year to an active member of the Dole Institute Student Advisory Board. The recipient must demonstrate their commitment to public service by supporting and growing student culture and embracing opportunities to bridge their education with future goals.

Grace Mechler was chosen as the recipient because of her strong connection to the Lawrence community and her early and consistent commitment to public service, which goes as far back as elementary school. This includes co-founding the student volunteer organization SPARK project.

Grace is a sophomore from Lawrence, Kansas, who is majoring in political science and English, with minors in Spanish and intelligence and national security studies. She has served on the Dole Institute of Politics’ Student Advisory Board since spring 2021 and began her work as the student development and fundraising intern in fall 2021. She has also enjoyed her work throughout college at the Boys and Girls Club of Lawrence, Lawrence Community Shelter, and University of Kansas SPARK project. In the future, she plans to pursue a career in immigration law.

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