Kansas State University Bulk Solids Innovation Center celebrates open house

By Sarah Hancock

The weather was wheat-harvest warm on June 24 as a new K-State research facility hosted an open house attended by representatives from more than 60 companies. Attendees came from as far away as Switzerland and as close as across the street to hear how the Kansas State University Bulk Solids Innovation Center in Salina can help them better understand how to handle loose, dry commodities and powders, including the wheat locals were cutting in nearby fields.

Matt Burt, K-State graduate and general sales manager at Coperion K-Tron in Salina, an anchor tenant of the center, said he and his staff are excited about the facility.

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Meeting industry demands: Kansas State University Salina expands unmanned aircraft systems program with new bachelor’s degree and minor

By Julee Cobb

With the unmanned aircraft systems, or UAS, industry growing at a rapid pace, Kansas State University Salina is meeting career demands with the addition of a new bachelor’s degree and minor beginning this fall.

Beginning this fall, Kansas State University Salina is offering a bachelor's degree in engineering technology with an unmanned aircraft systems option, which focuses on the design and implementation of UAS systems. K-State Salina also is offering a UAS minor.

Beginning this fall, Kansas State University Salina is offering a bachelor’s degree in engineering technology with an unmanned aircraft systems option, which focuses on the design and implementation of UAS systems. K-State Salina also is offering a UAS minor.

Combining UAS, commonly known as drones, technology with coursework in computer science, electronic engineering and mechanical engineering, K-State Salina is offering a Bachelor of Science in engineering technology with an unmanned aircraft systems option. The new course of study complements the already existing aeronautical technology bachelor’s degree in UAS, which is centered around piloting and field operations, by concentrating on the design and implementation of unmanned systems. The university also is adding a UAS minor with both a flight operations focus and a data acquisition and management focus. Doctoral-level faculty members are leading the program.

“K-State Salina is known for being at the forefront of unmanned aircraft systems education and research, and our innovative engineering technology reputation spans 50 years, starting with the creation of our campus,” said Verna Fitzsimmons, K-State Salina’s dean and CEO. “This hybrid degree, which incorporates principles from both programs, is a practical addition to our academic offerings and an essential addition for the UAS industry.”

Students enrolling in the engineering technology with an unmanned aircraft systems option degree will not have the requirement of flight ratings. Instead, they will explore the intricacies of how UAS function, such as their software and data, sensors and actuators, and camera systems and other payloads that are critical to accomplishing any task during missions. Courses will focus on different areas of electronic circuits, communication systems, control systems, machine design, manufacturing technology, materials technology and fundamentals of UAS operations.

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Dedication, inspiration and determination: K-State Salina honors students’ achievements and attitudes in end-of-the-year awards banquet

By Julee Cobb

After countless hours of studying, collaborating on class projects, engaging in student clubs and volunteering at events and with organizations throughout the school year, students at K-State Salina were celebrated for their hard work and perseverance at the annual awards banquet on April 23.

Students, along with faculty and staff, gathered for Kansas State University Salina’s 29th Annual Awards and Recognition Banquet, which honors members of the campus community with 30 different accolades. Held in the College Center conference room, guests were treated to a meal before the evening’s program began.

Four K-State Salina students are the recipients of the Wildcat Pride Awards given out at the campus's annual awards and recognition banquet. Pictured, from top left clockwise: Aaron Evans, Sarah Byarlay, Taya Smith and Trillian Svoboda.

Four K-State Salina students are the recipients of the Wildcat Pride Awards given out at the campus’s annual awards and recognition banquet. Pictured, from top left clockwise: Aaron Evans, Sarah Byarlay, Taya Smith and Trillian Svoboda.

Awards were handed out in three categories: Outstanding Academic Student awards, Outstanding Campus awards and Wildcat Pride awards. Within each of those areas, students, faculty and staff were recognized for a variety of reasons, including their program of study or instruction, sportsmanship, tutoring, advising and student club performance. Award nominations were open to anyone on campus and then were voted on by an established committee.

One of the most anticipated moments of the night is when the Wildcat Pride awards were announced. These student-only honors contain appreciation in the areas of community service, determination, dedication and most inspirational.

Aaron Evans, a senior in family studies and human services, Salina, was announced as the winner of the Wildcat Pride Award for community. According to its nomination description, the award recognizes a student who understands the civic responsibility of serving the community. The student sees the bigger picture and is aware of the community’s needs. Evans was nominated because of his involvement with Big Brothers Big Sisters in Salina, something he has been a part of since 2008. Additionally he has organized numerous volunteer activities for his fraternity, Phi Delta Theta, including a kickball tournament to benefit the Love, Chloe Foundation.

Sarah Byarlay, a sophomore in applied business, Salina, was the recipient of the Wildcat Pride Award for determination, which suggests its winner shows a quality of firmness in beliefs and actions, doesn’t quit until an answer or decision is reached, and pursues life by focusing on achieving a goal with passion. Byarlay was nominated for her diligent work ethic and attitude within the student club she presides over – the Student Veterans Association. She is also a tutor with the campus writing center and was praised for her efforts in encouraging her pupils.

Trillian Svoboda, a junior in social work, Salina, received the honor of the Wildcat Pride Award for most inspirational student. This award recognizes someone who inspires others to achieve the highest level at which they are capable, and epitomizes the qualities of determination, dedication and service. This student must also maintain a GPA of 2.5 or above. Svoboda was nominated because of her infectious smile and positive attitude, her ability to overcome obstacles outside of the classroom and her encouraging involvement with various groups in the community.

Taya Smith, a junior in social work, Salina, was the recipient of the Wildcat Pride Award for dedication, which states its winner goes above and beyond normal duties and is committed to a particular course of thought or action. Smith was nominated because of her repeated involvement in and service to clubs, events and other functions without the need for recognition or the limelight. She is described as efficient and organized with a steady presence, never seeking accolades.

Below is a list of other winners from K-State Salina’s 29th Annual Awards and Recognition Banquet:

Outstanding Academic Student Awards

Expository Writing – Preston Renfro, Ashley Crego and Matthew Miller

Unmanned Aircraft Systems – Trevor Witt

Aviation Maintenance – Rachael Luna

Airport Management – Russell Canter

Professional Pilot – Landon Keller

Family Studies and Human Services – Yesica Swenson

Social Work – America Ramirez, Irma Ramirez, Jana Weathersby, Jessica Geist, Jessica Rindt, Kendra Lawson, RayeAnn Underwood, Ryan Wands, Shelby Geddes and Victoria Brewer

Personal Financial Planning – Logan Wardyn

Computer Systems Technology – Alex Bunger

Chemistry – Matthew Kyle Haugh

Electronic and Computer Engineering Technology – Michael Finch

Mechanical Engineering Technology – Tyler Bohl

Technology Management – Zachary Baker

Dean of Student Life Graduating Senior – Daison Batangan

Outstanding Campus Awards

Intramural Team of the Year – MonStars

Larry Caldwell Sportsmanship Award – Torrance Hollins

Club Advisor of the Year – Jimmy Splichal

Academic Advisor/Faculty Mentor of the Year – Julie Rowe

Staff Member of the Year – Annette Hernandez

Faculty Member of the Year – Joel Matthews

Student Organization of the Year – Student Veterans Association

K-State Salina’s Student Governing Association, residence life department, student ambassadors, writing center tutors and peer tutors were also acknowledged for their contributions on campus.

Kansas State University Salina’s Blanks joins representatives from Google and Amazon on international unmanned vehicle systems board

By Julee Cobb

Kansas State University Salina’s unmanned aircraft systems program continues to demonstrate its leadership in the industry with the election of one of its staff members to the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, or AUVSI, board of directors.

Mark Blanks, UAS program manager, joins representatives from such companies as Google, Amazon and Textron Systems on the board.

Mark Blanks, Kansas State University Salina's UAS program manager, will serve on the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International board of directors for 2015-2018.

Mark Blanks, Kansas State University Salina’s UAS program manager, will serve on the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International board of directors for 2015-2018.

The association is the world’s largest nonprofit organization devoted exclusively to advancing the unmanned systems and robotics community through education, advocacy and leadership. Blanks is the only UAS-focused director to be selected from a university this year and will contribute his expertise of precision agriculture and other applications of unmanned systems during his term.

“With K-State’s extensive history in agriculture and our UAS program’s world-class researchers and educators, I’m excited about the impact our university will have within this organization,” Blanks said. “AUVSI is undoubtedly influencing the future of UAS technology, which will revolutionize industries across the globe. Along with K-State’s contribution, this new connection to AUVSI will, in return, open doors for the university.”

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Opening new doors: Kansas State University, industry partners celebrate Bulk Solids Innovation Center launch

By Julee Cobb

Collaborators on the Bulk Solids Innovation Center project cut the purple ribbon, signifying its official opening. Featured in the photo, from left to right: Hank Corcoran Boyer, Todd Smith, general manager of Coperion K-Tron Salina; Jon Blanchard, mayor of Salina; Verna Fitzsimmons, CEO and dean of K-State Salina; Jeff Thompson, president of Vortex Valves; Trey Mowery, Salina Economic Development Corporation; Jeff Gillam, president of Jones Gillam Renz Architects; Tim Bruce, Ron Fowles Construction; Monte Shadwick, chairman of the Saline County Commission; Don Weiser, Salina Area Chamber of Commerce president and CEO; Mike Hoppock; Doug McKinney, executive director of North Central Regional Planning Commission; and Joyce Volk.

Collaborators on the Kansas State University Bulk Solids Innovation Center cut the purple ribbon on the project, signifying its official opening. Featured in the photo, from left to right: Hank Corcoran Boyer, All America Team; Todd Smith, general manager of Coperion K-Tron Salina; Jon Blanchard, mayor of Salina; Verna Fitzsimmons, CEO and dean of K-State Salina; Jeff Thompson, president of Vortex Valves; Trey Mowery, Salina Economic Development Corporation; Jeff Gillam, president of Jones Gillam Renz Architects; Tim Bruce, Ron Fowles Construction; Monte Shadwick, chairman of the Saline County Commission; Don Weiser, Salina Area Chamber of Commerce president and CEO; Mike Hoppock, executive vice president of Land Title Services; Doug McKinney, executive director of North Central Regional Planning Commission; and Joyce Volk, All America Team.

Known as the only facility of its kind in all of North America, Kansas State University is enhancing is educational offerings in an exclusive way with the opening of its new Bulk Solids Innovation Center in north Salina. On May 14, dignitaries from K-State Salina, the city of Salina and various industries gathered for the official ribbon-cutting ceremony, celebrating the opening of the center.

“This is a great day; one that we have been looking forward to for a number of years,” said Verna Fitzsimmons, K-State Salina’s dean and CEO, during the commemoration. “The K-State Salina campus has been working constantly to connect education with industry and the wonderful thing about this facility is that it is bringing quite a few collaborators together.”

The Kansas State University Bulk Solids Innovation Center serves a multitude of purposes that will benefit students, industry professionals, university research and the Salina economy. Curriculum associated with the science and understanding of bulk solids is being created for engineering technology students and along with classes, students will assist with research projects as outside companies partner with the center to conduct product testing. Professional development courses will be taught onsite and the facility will attract 40 new, quality jobs to the area.

The center is a two-story building with 13,000-square-feet and houses six laboratories for university and industry-sponsored research; training and education, conference and lecture rooms; a material properties test lab; and a full-scale bulk solids test bay. Bulk solids are loose, dry commodities like sugar, minerals, pigments and recycled plastics that account for more than 80 percent of items transported around the world.

“A few years ago, not very many people knew what bulk solids are, and now we have the best center in the world dedicated to that industry,” said Todd Smith, general manager of Coperion K-Tron Salina, one of the anchor occupants of the facility. “Companies have challenges with bulk solids and they will use this facility to help solve their issues. There is great demand for this and now we have a way to address it.”

“I have just been amazed at the amount of interest in this facility from a corporate level,” said Kurt Barnhart, K-State Salina’s associate dean of research and engagement. “We’re going to be connected with the College of Agriculture’s Particle Technology Lab, grain sciences and other facilities in Manhattan to make sure we approach this across the spectrum holistically, and then we can really meet the needs of industry.”

Ground was broken on the facility in July 2014 and since then, manufacturers from across the globe have supplied more than $2.5 million in equipment donations. The innovation center is a project of Kansas State University with partners the Salina Area Chamber of Commerce, Salina Economic Development Corporation, U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration, the state of Kansas and the city of Salina.

After the ribbon-cutting ceremony concluded, attendees were invited to take a tour of the building. On June 24, the Kansas State University Bulk Solids Innovation Center will host a corporate open house for industry partners and companies interested in collaborating with the facility and sponsoring research. Short courses through K-State Salina’s professional education and outreach department are scheduled to begin this summer and the university is currently conducting an international search for a faculty researcher.

To learn more about bulk solids education and the facility’s research capabilities, contact Barnhart at 785-826-2972 or kurtb@k-state.edu.

K-State Salina expands Discover Programs to include high school students

By Julee Cobb

After seven years of providing seasonal educational opportunities for area youth through Discover Programs, Kansas State University Salina is growing the brand to now include a new program and an older age group.

K-State Salina is introducing Discover You — a one-day development program on Wednesday, July 29 that will focus on participants’ interpersonal skills such as communication, leadership, goal setting and teamwork. The program will run from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and is open to the eighth through 10th grades, making it the first time Discover Programs have been available to high school students.

“In this particular age group, it’s an exciting time in their lives when they start taking stock of who they are as an individual,” said Kirsten Zoller, K-State Salina’s event coordinator. “Discover You is a natural extension of Discover Programs, building on the technical skills students have learned in previous programs with the necessary relational skills they need in extracurricular activities, the classroom and beyond.”

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Ride of a lifetime: Kansas State University Salina pilots provide flights to children in Wichita aviation program

By Julee Cobb

Though much of the program is geared toward educating students over the age of eighteen, Kansas State University Salina’s aviation department is always looking for opportunities to inspire a younger generation.

Five K-State Salina certified flight instructors participated in the Flying Challenge, giving airplane rides to Wichita middle school children.

Five K-State Salina certified flight instructors participated in the Flying Challenge, giving airplane rides to Wichita middle school children.

For the third year in a row, K-State Salina exhibited its passion for educating youth on aviation when it joined United Way of the Plains and Airbus Corporate Foundation for their Flying Challenge – a mentoring program for middle school children in Wichita that is rooted in aviation, math, science, engineering and technology. On May 11, the university flew five airplanes to the National Center for Aviation Training in Wichita where K-State Salina certified flight instructors gave thrilling rides to more than 50 students from Hadley Middle School.

At the beginning of the school year, Hadley students were matched with advisors from Airbus and Wichita Area Technical College to see how professionals apply science and math every day during weekly mentoring visits, field trips and hands-on experiences. The Flying Challenge is the last event of the year and is designed, not only as a final educational component, but also as a reward for the students’ hard work in the program.

The Flying Challenge also gave students an opportunity to learn about the emerging aviation field of unmanned aircraft systems as well as participate in a virtual paint lab and design and composites labs.

The program first launched in the hometown of Airbus – Toulouse, France – in 2011 in connection with a local United Way, and then branched out to Wichita in 2012.

Kansas universities awarded new FAA Center of Excellence designation

Three Kansas universities are members of the new Federal Aviation Administration Center of Excellence for Unmanned Aircraft Systems, which was awarded by the U.S. Department of Transportation in Washington, D.C., recently.

Wichita State University, Kansas State University and the University of Kansas are members of the new center known as the Alliance for System Safety of UAS through Research Excellence, or ASSURE, which will play a key role in helping the FAA develop rules regulating commercial unmanned aerial systems. ASSURE, which will be led by Mississippi State University, will provide the FAA and industry with research to maximize the potential of commercial unmanned systems with minimal changes to the current system regulating manned aircraft.

Congress appropriated $5 million for the five-year agreement with the center, which will be matched one-for-one by the team members. The FAA expects the center will be able to begin research by September and be fully operational and engaged in a robust research agenda by January 2016.

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Kansas State University and community partners set purple ribbon-cutting for Bulk Solids Innovation Center grand opening

By Julee Cobb

After breaking ground on the project less than a year ago, the Kansas State University Bulk Solids Innovation Center will celebrate its grand opening with a purple ribbon-cutting ceremony at 2 p.m. Thursday, May 14, in the 600 block of North Front Street in Salina. The public is welcome to attend.

The two-story, 13,000-square-foot facility is the only one of its kind in North America and will be used to study the science and understanding of bulk solids materials handling — loose, dry commodities like sugar, minerals, pigments and recycled plastics that account for more than 80 percent of items transported around the world. The innovation center houses six laboratories for university and industry-sponsored research; training and education, conference and lecture rooms; a material properties test lab; and a full-scale bulk solids test bay. After the ribbon-cutting ceremony, all of these features will be available for viewing during walking tours of the space.

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Kansas State University Salina adding UAS cybersecurity concentration to master’s degree program, first online class begins June 8

By Julee Cobb

In today’s technological era, protecting information has become paramount. And with processing, storing and transporting communication an extensive component of unmanned aircraft systems, or UAS, Kansas State University Salina is expanding its curriculum offerings to provide solutions for this type of security.

K-State Salina is adding an unmanned aircraft systems cybersecurity concentration to its Professional Master of Technology and is currently enrolling students for the inaugural class beginning Monday, June 8. This new academic emphasis is online-based and gives interested students the flexibility of either working toward a master’s degree or taking individual courses to help advance their knowledge and specialize in a niche within the unmanned aircraft systems industry.

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