K-State Salina student and alumnus team up to represent the university in Fly Kansas Air Tour

Three days, nine Kansas cities and almost 1,000 miles logged. In an effort to spread their passion for flying and the university, a K-State Salina student and alumnus joined together to participate in this year’s Fly Kansas Air Tour. The expedition, which ran from Sept. 22-24, united pilots from across the state and gave them a platform to educate interested children and adults on aviation.

Kansas State University Salina alumnus Nathan Gorrell, left, and professional pilot junior Taylor Spangler fly a K-State Cessna 172 in the Fly Kansas Air Tour.

Flying pilot-in-command, Taylor Spangler, junior in professional pilot and senior certified flight instructor, Andover, and sitting right seat, Nathan Gorrell, a 2008 professional pilot graduate, represented K-State Salina on the tour with a Cessna 172.

“This is some of the most enjoyable flying I’ve ever done,” Gorrell said. “The people that you meet at all of the stops as well as the pilots are what make this event so special.”

Gorrell, a pilot with Marathon Oil Co. in Houston, Texas, saw the tour dates online and immediately contacted K-State Salina’s aviation interim department head Barney King. Gorrell flew in a similar event as a senior and he says that experience left a notable impact on him, one for which he is grateful.

“I’m very blessed by all of my opportunities from K-State Salina,” Gorrell said. “I got to where I am today through the assistance of my professors and scholarships. If I can help promote the university, which has been so good to me, I feel like I’m returning the favor.”

Spangler also volunteered for the tour and decided to get involved because of the opportunity to interact with children curious about flight. Spangler says both of his parents are pilots and he began learning about aviation at a young age.

“I started flying at 12 years old,” Spangler said. “And since I’m still young, I think kids feel like they can identify with me and are more likely to approach me with questions about flying. If they see that a young person can be a pilot, hopefully they’ll be inspired to pursue it.”

At each of the stops on the Fly Kansas Air Tour, schools and community members were invited to watch the planes land and takeoff as well as speak with the pilots and view other aircraft on display. At the stop in Salina, K-State Salina exhibited the unmanned aircraft systems program with a flying demonstration and setup computer flight simulators for event guests to tryout. Spangler says at every stop almost every child got especially excited when they saw the Powercat on the university’s plane.

Gorrell, Spangler and the other participating pilots followed a circular pattern in the state, starting off in Wellington and traveling to Hutchinson, Dodge City, Scott City, Salina, Topeka, Pittsburg and Independence before completing their trip in Benton. The Fly Kansas Air Tour was just one part of the 2014 Kansas Aviation Expo that also included business seminars and speeches from two around-the-world pilots.

K-State Salina professors conducting divorced families research, seek study participants

When parents divorce and a family disconnects, communication between both sides can be difficult. But for Mindy Markham and Becky DeGreeff, two professors at Kansas State University Salina, determining the best methods for keeping contact alive and abundant is at the forefront of their current research.

Kansas State University Salina's Mindy Markham, left, assistant professor of family studies and human services, and Becky DeGreeff, right, assistant professor of communication studies, are collaborating on university research about divorced families and methods of communication.

Markham, assistant professor of family studies and human services, and DeGreeff, assistant professor of communication studies, are collaborating on a study involving divorced, nonresidential parents and their adolescents, and how they use technology to communicate. The study is supported by a $40,600-plus grant from Kansas State University Salina’s Financial Assistance for Scholarship Development.

Currently, the professors are looking for both adults and adolescents to participate, with contributors paid for their time.

Since Markham began her graduate work in 2003, she has been solely focused on the subject of co-parenting after divorce. Though she doesn’t have a personal connection with separation, Markham says throughout her time as a student as well as a professional, it is apparent that more information is needed to help segregated families with their communication.

“I have worked with so many divorcing parents in my career and I continue to hear the same challenges of not being able to speak with their ex or their child,” Markham said. “If Becky and I can learn from these participants what communication techniques are successful and which ones don’t work, we can may help reconnect families in the future.”

Markham and DeGreeff plan to wrap up their study by May 2015. DeGreeff says, even though the entire process may take a year or two, the two professors have big plans for their findings.

“We want to present our study at a national conference as well as write a manuscript for publication in a recognized journal,” said DeGreeff. “Times change. People change. Information changes. The research projects K-State Salina faculty conduct are important for students’ education, industry advancement and human development.”

Those interested in taking part in the study need to meet the following criteria:

  • A parent who is divorced from the father/mother of his or her adolescent child and the ex-partner has primary physical custody of the adolescent.
  • Children who are between 12 years old and 17 years old, and their parents are divorced. Parental permission is required to participate.
  • Participants who are willing to confidentially discuss their relationships and their methods of communicating or not communicating.

Markham says the adolescent interviews take approximately 20 to 45 minutes and the adult interviews can last 40 to 60 minutes. Adults are given $30 for their participation and adolescents will receive $10. For more information on the study or to participate, contact Markham at 785-826-2929 or mmarkham@k-state.edu, or DeGreeff at 785-826-2653 or bdegreeff@k-state.edu.

K-State Salina professors to facilitate panel discussions with other Kansas universities for possible collaboration on health care robotics research

Three K-State Salina engineering technology faculty members will attend the Kansas City section of Engineers in Medicine and Biology Society panel discussion Sept. 11 to talk to faculty from other Kansas institutions about working together on health care robotics research.

Saeed Khan, K-State Salina associate professor of electronic and computer engineering technology, is the chair of the Kansas City section of Engineers in Medicine and Biology Society.

Saeed Khan, associate professor of electronic and computer engineering technology, is the chair of the Kansas City section of the society and will serve as the moderator for the panel. K-State Salina’s Mark Jackson, engineering technology department head, and Raju Dandu, associate professor of mechanical engineering technology, will also attend along with engineering professors from the university’s main campus in Manhattan, Wichita State University and Pittsburg State University. Faculty and students from the University of Missouri, Kansas City also are expected to attend.

The goal of the panel discussion is to bring together engineering and engineering technology faculty from a variety of backgrounds to create a plan of how each person’s area of expertise can benefit the medical field. The group is specifically examining health care robotics for the elderly. Even though this will be the first time all of the professors have assembled, Khan has hopes for a future partnership.

“This is an attempt to kick-start a collaboration that not only has the capability of elevating research but producing an invention that can give someone a better quality of life and is readily available,” Khan said. “Health care is one of the most expensive components of our society. Why not take our skills as engineers and design something that is profoundly needed in the medical world.”

Khan’s hope is the collaboration will eventually lead to constructing a robot that can assist with in-home care of an elderly patient, such as reminding the person when to take medication. The robot also would give relief to caregivers, allowing them to go about their daily activities knowing their loved one is being supervised.

Between the four universities participating in the panel discussion, faculty members have proficiency in nanotechnology, man-machine interfacing, biological sensors, body area networks, microwave ablation and wireless power. A second panel discussion already has been determined for Sept. 25.

The Engineers in Medicine and Biology Society is part of the Kansas City section of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, an organization that is considered the world’s largest professional association for the advancement of technology.

First K-State Salina Civic Luncheon Lecture of the semester to focus on immigration trends in the state

With the ethnicity of the Kansas population constantly changing — it’s estimated that 1 in 8 Kansans are Latino or Asian — questions are arising about how diversity will affect the state’s future. Kansas State University Salina’s first Civic Luncheon Lecture of the fall semester will focus on the topic of immigration with an educational presentation and an open forum for discussion.

“Blending Kansas Cultures: Immigration Trends, Policies and Questions” will be presented at noon Thursday, Sept. 11, at K-State Salina’s College Center conference room. The state director of the League of United Latin American Citizens of Kansas, Michelle Stubblefield, will be the guest speaker.

Greg Stephens, an arts, sciences and business professor, created K-State Salina’s Civic Luncheon Lecture Series in an effort to provide the campus and the community with an opportunity to learn about and participate in various social issues affecting society, and to also encourage opinions and ideas. Stephens says the lecture series, now in its second year, has had very positive feedback despite a few controversial topics.

“The Civic Luncheon Lecture Series is meant to push boundaries, generate dialogue and make people think,” Stephens said. “The attendance to each lecture has only grown in size and I have had many people tell me they are glad the Salina area has an outlet for hot-button topics.”

The Civic Luncheon Lecture is free and the public is invited. Attendees are welcome to bring their own lunch or purchase their lunch at the K-State Café and bring their tray into the conference room.

For more information on the series, contact Stephens at 785-819-6887 or gregs@k-state.edu, or visit http://www.salina.k-state.edu/civicluncheon/.

K-State Salina officially unveils Schilling Hall

It has simply been known as Residence Hall for the last 20 years, and now it finally has an official name for students to call home.

Tyler Lewis, former SGA president, and Verna Fitzsimmons, CEO and dean, unveil the new name of one of K-State Salina's residence halls.

On August 29, Schilling Hall was unveiled on the K-State Salina campus to a crowd of students, faculty and staff. Formerly called Residence Hall, the building’s name was changed after an initiative by the Student Governing Association. For years the literal name of the building has caused confusion, so the K-State Salina SGA held a contest for name suggestions. The winning submission, Schilling Hall, is a tribute to the campus’s history when the area was first known as Schilling Air Force Base in the late 1950’s and early 60’s.

“The K-State Salina students have solved a residence hall name challenge that has been a thorn in the side for many of us and I want to say thank you,” said Dixie Schierlman, associate dean of student services, at the ceremony. “I have an overwhelming sense of pride that our students have honored this campus’s heritage.”

Once Verna Fitzsimmons, CEO and dean of K-State Salina, approved the residence hall name change, it was submitted to the Kansas Board of Regents to become official.

“This shows the power we as students have to make a change on campus and impact the university in a better way,” said Tyler Lewis, the former SGA president.

Schilling Hall is a suite-style residence hall that was built in 1994 and accommodates around 100 students. To compliment the new name, Schilling Hall is also undergoing renovations, with four rooms completed so far.

For more information on K-State Salina’s residence halls, contact Darryl Glenn, residence life coordinator, at 785-826-2957 or darrylg@ksu.edu.

K-State Salina cuts ribbon on Welcome Center, holds tours of new Student Life Center locker room addition

Kansas State University Salina recently opened the campus’s Welcome Center, officially cutting the purple ribbon on the project Sept. 4. The center provides the first impression of the campus to potential students and their families and serves as the one-stop service shop for new and returning students.

Ethan Delker, center left, K-State Salina's Student Governing Association president; Verna Fitzsimmons, center, K-State Salina dean and CEO; and Dixie Schierlman, center right, K-State Salina associate dean of student services, cut the purple ribbon on the campus's new Welcome Center as some K-State Salina students and Salina Area Chamber of Commerce ambassadors watch.

“The Welcome Center will play an essential role in the college life of every student on campus,” said Verna Fitzsimmons, K-State Salina CEO and dean, at the ribbon-cutting ceremony. “It will be one space that houses multiple services, making a student’s entrance into a new year easy and stress free.”

The unveiling of the renovated building, which drew a large crowd of university faculty and staff, students, alumni and community members, included its history that dates back to 1955 when it was constructed as part of Schilling Air Force Base. And because of its age, the demolition of the space left only the concrete slab, exterior walls and interior structural columns and beams. To read more, click here.

Studying abroad: K-State Salina welcomes more than 50 Brazilian students enrolled in an exchange program

SALINA — Kansas State University Salina is experiencing an influx in its international student population this year after 55 Brazilian students arrived on campus to study engineering technology.

Brazilian students attending Kansas State University Salina gather in the school's Ballou Plaza. Back row, from left: Jorge Dos Santos Segundo, Bruno Losse, and Rafael Mantovani Serigatti; and front row, from left: Murilo Dias Leme Juliani, Louise Marianne De Matos Brasil, Joao Cruz, Caroline Aparecida Peron Roberto and Rafael Constancio Godinho Natal.

The students are participating in the Brazil Scientific Mobility Program, which allows them to study for one year at a university in the United States. They continue with their current education while improving their English-speaking skills and immersing themselves in American culture. The program selects about 3,000 students to participate each year after a lengthy application process.

“It was very hard. I waited almost one year to find out if I was chosen,” said Joao Cruz, a student from Sao Paulo, Brazil. “But it was worth the wait. I am happy to be here. I want to learn as much as I possibly can.”

To read more, click here.


Welcome back: K-State Salina ushers in a new school year with multi-week student activities

Kansas State University Salina officially starts a new school year when classes begin Monday, August 25. But activity on the campus ignited when more than 50 Brazilian students and two Czech Republic students arrived on August 19. After settling into the residence halls, they helped other K-State Salina students move in and unpack, and together with faculty and staff, attended Convocation on August 23.

With an influx of international students this year, K-State Salina has created a multitude of events and activities for all students to participate in on and off campus.

“Many of the international students don’t have transportation, so the student services staff has worked diligently to plan and organization a variety of events not only for convenience sake but also to immerse them in American culture and to unite all of our students together,” said Dixie Schierlman, associate dean of student services.

Welcome Weeks events, including date, time and location:

Monday, August 25

Lights On Salina, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Tech Center lobby

Battle of the Colors, 7 p.m. in the field between the Student Life Center and the Welcome Center

Tuesday, August 26

Student Support Services’ Welcome Back Pizza Bash, 12:00 p.m. in the Tech Center lobby

Women in Aviation Ice Cream Social, 6:30 p.m. at Kuhlman Square

“Can I Kiss You?” Livestream, 9:00 p.m. in the College Center conference room

Wednesday, August 27

Coop’s Pizza and Band, 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at 123-B Santa Fe Street

Student Support Services fall orientation, 6:30 p.m. in the Welcome Center

Thursday, August 28

Golf Night, 5:30 p.m. at the Salina Municipal Golf Course

Nitro Bowling, 9:30 p.m. at the All Star Lanes, 624 South Broadway

Friday, August 29

Donut Friday in the Student Support Services office

Schilling Hall Ribbon Cutting, 10:45 a.m. in front of Schilling Hall

SGA Welcome Back Luncheon, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the K-State Café

Paintball and Dinner, 3 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at Elite Sports

Back to School Kick Back, 8:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. in Kuhlman Square

Saturday, August 30

K-State football vs. Stephen F. Austin, 6:10 p.m. at Bill Snyder Family Football Stadium in Manhattan

Tuesday, September 2 

SGA Ice Cream Social, 7:30 p.m. in the College Center lobby

First SGA meeting of the year, 8:30 p.m. in the College Center conference room

Wednesday, September 3

Clearly You Crystals, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. in the Tech Center lobby

Skate Night, 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at the Starlight Skating Rink

Thursday, September 4

Welcome Center Ribbon Cutting and Locker Room Open House, 3:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. outside the Welcome Center

Tailgate Party, 4:45 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the Thaemert Softball Field

Faculty/Staff vs. Students Softball Game, 6:00 p.m. at the Thaemert Softball Field

Otakats Movie Night, 7:30 p.m. in the College Center conference room

Friday, September 5

Donut Friday in the Student Support Services office

Military students welcome meeting and dinner, 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. in the Student Life Center

KGB Alpha LAN party, 6:00 p.m. in the College Center conference room

Monday, September 8

Mud Volleyball, 7:00 p.m. at the mud volleyball court

Tuesday, September 9

SGA meeting, 8:30 p.m. in the College Center conference room

Wednesday, September 10

Study Abroad Fair, 10:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. in the College Center lobby

Thursday, September 11

Remembrance Ribbons, 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. in the Tech Center lobby

Wednesday, September 17

Hypnotist Chris Jones, 7:00 p.m. in the College Center conference room

Saturday, September 20 

Salina Area Community Veteran BBQ, 11:00 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the VFW, 1108 West Crawford

Monday, September 22

International Flag Event, 11:00 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Tech Center lobby

Wednesday, September 24

Blizzard of Bucks, 7:00 p.m. in the College Center conference room

For more information on any of these events, contact Amy Sellers at 785-826-2971 or amyeb@k-state.edu.

Tuskegee University students spend summer term enhancing their education at K-State Salina

With aerospace engineering degrees already in the works, two students from Tuskegee University in Alabama are heightening their collegiate experience by spending the summer studying unmanned aircraft systems at Kansas State University Salina.

Benjamin Bradley, left, and Sidney Walker rebuild an unmanned vehicle as part of a class project.

Tuskegee’s Sidney Walker, a senior from Augusta, Georgia, and Benjamin Bradley, a senior from Lamar, South Carolina, got the idea to study the emerging field of unmanned aircraft systems, or UAS, from one of their professors who also serves as a K-State Salina adjunct professor. K-State Salina was one of two universities in the nation to first offer a bachelor’s degree in unmanned aircraft systems, and Tuskegee University, though historically known for its connection to the Tuskegee Airmen, does not currently have any piloting classes, manned or unmanned. Bradley and Walker say they jumped at the chance to broaden their curriculum and add to their resumes.

Read more.

Khan receives K-State Salina faculty fellow award

Kansas State University Salina electronic and computer engineering technology professor Saeed Khan has been named the recipient of the university’s Rex McArthur Family Faculty Fellow Award for the 2013-2014 school year.

K-State Salina professor Saeed Khan is the 2013-2014 recipient of the Rex McArthur Family Faculty Fellow Award.

The honor was given to Khan after he was nominated by a department head, with the McArthur selection committee making the final decision. The distinction, presented each year, represents a faculty member who has demonstrated teaching excellence, a commitment to research and honorable service to the university, college and community. The McArthur family, longtime residents of the area, established the award to support education in Salina.

Khan first began teaching at the university in 1997 as a part time, temporary professor. He moved to Kansas because his wife, Louise, whom he met at graduate school, was hired on the Manhattan campus as an associate professor of history. A year later, Khan joined K-State Salina as a full-time faculty member in electronic and computer engineering technology.  Read more.