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KU Student Portrait — D’Arlyn Bell
Pamela Urlacher
What’s in Your Backpack, D’Arlyn Bell?

“My journals — at any given time, I’m carrying three or four journals,” said D’Arlyn Bell, a doctoral student in the School of Public Affairs and Administration from Kansas City, Kan. “Because if I don’t, I am worried I will forget some genius idea.”

Bell focuses her research on nonprofits in low-income communities, the people they serve and the interesting things they can do together. She pulls inspiration from the possibility of progress and her experience as a Cherokee Native American and growing up in poverty. Starting college later in life and being a parent motivate Bell to reach her goals. “I’m passionate about helping my kids find ways to make the world more beautiful and build their own communities.”

As the recipient of a National Science Foundation grant and a KU scholarship, Bell can concentrate on her research. “I wouldn’t be able to focus on my work in the way that I can right now without this support because it frees up time for being devoted to my research.”

Because of her own experiences, Bell has committed her time to nonprofits and growing their reach. “One of my main projects is researching urban, Native American Indian centers and looking at them through the lens of their potential in more political advocacy. I really feel my research is crucial at this time in society and has the potential to make a huge difference.”

Bell plans to continue her research on low-income communities and nonprofits, hoping to help others. She is grateful for her excellent KU mentors and for the financial support she has received. “To the donors, thank you. Because finding the funds and connecting them with students who have creative potential, and potential to make a difference in their field of study — that’s the key, right?”

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