Alumnus Ayush Manandhar to Serve as Keynote Speaker for the 17th Annual Undergraduate Scholars Forum

Westminster College is pleased to announce Ayush Manandhar, ’17 IND, as the keynote speaker for the 17th Annual Undergraduate Scholars Forum (USF) at 9 a.m. on April 19, 2024, in the Coulter Science Center Lecture Hall.

The lecture and all USF activities are free and open to the public.

Manandhar is a data and policy analyst at Acumen LLC/The SPHERE Institute. At Westminster, he majored in transnational studies and political economy and served as co-founder and vice president of Global Development and Progress. He was also editor-in-chief of the Westminster Journal for Global Progress, a member of the Honors Program, a Student Government Association senator, chairperson of the Campus Activities Board, and a Student Ambassador.

After graduating from the College in 2017, Manandhar spent an additional year at Westminster as the Intercultural Engagement Fellow at the College’s Center for Faith & Service. In 2020, he earned a master’s degree in public policy from the McCourt School of Public Policy at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.

At Georgetown, Manandhar was the editor of the Georgetown Public Policy Review and interned at the World Resources Institute, where he researched climate change and clean energy using data-driven models. He then worked as an assistant to the ambassador at the Embassy of Nepal in Washington, D.C., authoring speeches and policy reports, safeguarding the Nepali diaspora during the global pandemic while helping advance U.S.-Nepal relations across different policy themes.

Manandhar began working at Acumen LLC/The SPHERE Institute in the fall of 2021. At Acumen, he works with U.S. government agencies, including the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Payment Advisory Commission to advance research and data-driven answers on U.S. health care policy. He uses econometric models and data analysis to research Medicare and Medicaid enrollment and assess disparities across different sectors of the U.S. health care system. He also authors policy memorandums for U.S. government health agencies, working with them to provide support and guidance in their use of Medicare data for program implementation.

Manandhar is deeply passionate about public policy and believes in integrating data analysis and communications to bring positive, long-term social change.

In addition to Manandhar’s presentation, the opening session will include a student presentation and an awards ceremony. Concurrent sessions will take place after the opening ceremony.

About the Undergraduate Scholars Forum (USF)

Founded in 2008, the USF promotes undergraduate research and other scholarly work ― integral components of a Westminster education. Classes are paused for the day while more than 100 students from 15 academic programs present original research through multimedia projects, papers, and posters.

Dr. Mary Majerus, coordinator of the USF, has been involved with the event for many years, either through judging student submissions or advising them in their presentations. “The Forum is an outstanding platform to recognize the scholarly achievements of our students,” she explained recently. “Many share their work on national platforms, representing Westminster College, and it is truly rewarding to see all of their hard work celebrated together in one event.”

Majerus added that the 2024 USF is specially dedicated to co-founder Dr. David Stubbs, who died Feb. 13, 2024, and was a Westminster graduate, Class of 1968.

“Dr. Stubbs was a true scholar who embraced the complexities of research and teaching. His strong academic foundations and commitment to a life of success, significance, and service contributed to his outstanding achievements in the world of healthcare,” Majerus reflected. “His legacy of scholarship and service lives on through the Stubbs Family Endowment, which supports the USF. Dr. Stubbs will be deeply missed by all fortunate enough to know him.”

The USF is generously funded by an endowment established by the Stubbs family, which includes a number of Westminster graduates: David Stubbs, MD, ’68 ΣΧ; Thad Stubbs, ’99 KA; Courtney (Stubbs) Swan, ’01 ΚΑΘ; and Zach Stubbs, ’07 KA; Rebecca Stubbs, ’08 IND; as well as Beth (Howard) MacLellan, ’00 ΚΚΓ. In the memory of Dr. Stubbs, contributions can be made to the endowment by clicking here and selecting “Stubbs Family Undergraduate Scholars Forum Endowment” under “Designation.”



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Sarah Rummel Backer

Sarah Rummel Backer is the Director of Media Relations and Senior Writer at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri. A proud Westminster graduate, Sarah has more than 20 years of experience in marketing and strategic communications in the areas of higher education, medicine, agriculture, and the private business sector.