K-State Salina social work program offers educational conference on Kansas death penalty

An educational conference about capital punishment will be offered at Kansas State University Salina to find out more about both sides of the widely debated issue.

The Salina Regional Abolition Conference will be 3:30 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 21. Two sessions, both open to the public, will be offered. Session one, beginning at 3:30 p.m., will feature the daughter of a murder victim and experts on the issue of capital punishment. It will be in rooms 108 and 169 of the Technology Center. Session two, starting at 6:30 p.m., will highlight a Missouri exoneree who spent 24 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. This session will be in the College Center conference room.

The conference is sponsored by the Kansas Coalition Against the Death Penalty, which is a not-for-profit corporation that formed in 1989 by a group opposed to reinstating the death penalty in Kansas, and the social work program at K-State Salina.

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Art of the Science: K-State Salina’s inaugural event mixes taste with technology

K-State Salina is always eager for opportunities to exhibit its unique education: it has a nationally ranked aviation program, engineering technology degrees that have been around since the campus’s creation and academic offerings that, until recently, were only available in Manhattan. So, on Oct. 9, the university offered the Salina community another look at its programs and facilities, but this time added personalized flair to the event.

A variety of scenes from the inaugural Art of the Science event at K-State Salina.

The inaugural Art of the Science Wine Walk invited attendees to tour specific spots on campus and combined the excursion with food, wine, music and art. Guests, including Salina residents, local industry leaders, K-State Salina alumni and K-State president Kirk Schulz, were treated to four stops on the tour that highlighted the new Welcome Center, the unmanned aircraft systems program, the mechanical engineering technology lab, the digital media technology program, chemistry and personal financial planning. At each destination, a spread of food was offered along with William Cole wine pairings.

“This event was created as another opportunity to connect our campus with the community that continually gives us support,” said Verna Fitzsimmons, dean and CEO of K-State Salina. “We want to keep people aware of the exciting things happening at this university and I hope our guests thought this event was both educational and entertaining.”

The night began in the renovated Welcome Center, which serves as a one-stop shop for students providing admissions, financial aid, housing and student support services. Guests listened to classic songs performed by K-State’s all male a cappella group, Cadence, and viewed art displays created by digital media technology students. Willie the Wildcat was also in attendance and posed for pictures with his fans.

Next, the guests walked over to the unmanned aircraft systems lab where they learned about the fleet and latest applications for the budding industry. They were also able to test their skills at flying with the simulators. On stop three, the campus’s mechanical engineering lab showcased the Baja car, a 3D printer, the Cat Cannon and other machinery and technologies used by students.

Finally, guests moved into the technology center lobby where chemistry professor, Jung Oh, performed science experiments in the form of magic tricks and spotlighted different projects her students are undertaking. Personal financial planning was also on hand to inform the group about their program offerings, which was added in 2011.

Because of the success of the first Art of the Science Wine Walk, next year’s event is already in the planning phases.

K-State Salina, Johnson County Community College and Air Associates bring professional pilot degree to Kansas City; learn more at Oct. 18 event

With industry demand for pilots soaring, Kansas State University Salina is expanding its aviation program to Kansas City. K-State Salina has partnered with Johnson County Community College and Air Associates of Kansas to offer a professional pilot degree in the Kansas City metropolitan area.

Launching in fall 2015, the new program will have an informational event from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 18, at Air Associates, 12901 W. 151st St., Olathe. Featuring the Air Associates’ fleet as well as K-State Salina planes, prospective students and their guests can meet faculty, enjoy lunch and see presentations to learn more about the program.

Students enrolling in the program will receive flight training from Air Associates while taking their core degree courses online from K-State Salina and general education credits from Johnson County Community College. Once they graduate, students will receive a Bachelor of Science in aeronautical technology-professional pilot from Kansas State University.

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Bulk Solids Innovation Center project progressing, amasses $2.4 million in equipment donations

The Kansas State University Bulk Solids Innovation Center, which broke ground in July, is already creating momentum toward its project goals. The innovation center has garnered $2.4 million in equipment donations, the facility’s foundation is currently being poured and the job description for a full-time research manager is being finalized.

A rendering of the Kansas State University Bulk Solids Innovation Center, which is scheduled for completion in April 2015.

“It is absolutely thrilling to see how quickly this project is flourishing,” said Dennis Lauver, president and CEO of the Salina Area Chamber of Commerce. “We’re pleased to be the community where so many entities have come together to make the Bulk Solids Innovation Center a reality.”

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K-State Salina Civic Luncheon to focus on building a better understanding of the LGBTQ community

In an effort to help further a more comprehensive understanding of the LGBTQ — Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer — community, Kansas State University Salina’s second Civic Luncheon Lecture Series of the semester will spotlight personal stories from a variety of the university’s students and faculty as well as feature an open forum for discussion and questions.

“LGBTQ: Lives, Insights and Experiences” will be presented at noon Thursday, Oct. 9, at K-State Salina’s College Center conference room.

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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.