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.

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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.

Kansas State University, community partners break ground on Bulk Solids Innovation Center, completion date set for April 2015

After five years of discussions, planning and proposals, the Kansas State University Bulk Solids Innovation Center is ready for construction following a groundbreaking ceremony on July 10.

Ground is broken on the Kansas State University Bulk Solids Innovation Center, to be built in north Salina, at a July 10 ceremony.

“The Bulk Solids Innovation Center is a prime example of how Kansas State University continues to move toward its goal of being a Top 50 research institution by the year 2025, and how we continue to connect education with industry,” said Verna Fitzsimmons, dean and CEO of Kansas State University Salina, in her remarks to a crowd filled with other partners in the project, state and local representatives, university faculty and alumni, and community supporters.

“K-State is proud to be a part of this synergetic project and highly values the opportunity to work closely with other members of the Salina community,” Fitzsimmons said.

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Kansas State University and community partners set groundbreaking ceremony for Bulk Solids Innovation Center

A groundbreaking for the Kansas State University Bulk Solids Innovation Center will be at 9:30 a.m. Thursday, July 10, in the 600 block of North Front Street in Salina. The public is welcome to attend.

A rendering of the Kansas State University Bulk Solids Innovation Center to be built in north Salina.

The center is the 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. Expected completion date will be in 2015.

The research facility will be the only one of its kind in North America. The nearly 13,000-square-foot center will be used to study and develop the understanding of bulk solids materials handling. 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. Read more.

Barnhart’s new role as associate dean of research at K-State Salina aligns with university’s 2025 plan

After seven years as the head of the aviation department at Kansas State University Salina, Kurt Barnhart has been promoted to associate dean of research and engagement. A new position on the campus, Barnhart’s role will help move K-State Salina toward reaching the universitywide goal of being a Top 50 public research institution by the year 2025.

Kurt Barnhart has been promoted to the role of associate dean of research and engagement at Kansas State University Salina.

“President Schulz has set the bar high for K-State’s future, and our campus intends on fully contributing to meeting those objectives,” said Verna Fitzsimmons, CEO and dean of K-State Salina. “Kurt has been a strong, committed and knowledgeable leader of our aviation department and has built invaluable relationships with a variety of industries. I am so pleased to have him in this role and I can’t wait to see the partnerships he facilitates for our faculty and their research projects.”

Although Barnhart will still retain his title of executive director of the Applied Aviation Research Center, he will now broaden his focus across every program at K-State Salina. Faculty members can collaborate with Barnhart on new research ideas. He’ll provide feedback, review proposals, assess budgets and connect them with funding opportunities as well as link them with ongoing research projects on the Manhattan campus. Barnhart also hopes to encourage educational exploration within the K-State Salina student body. Read more

Harding wins K-State Salina’s Marchbanks Memorial Award for Teaching Excellence

Kansas State University Salina computer systems technology professor, Troy Harding, has been named the recipient of the university’s prestigious Marchbanks Memorial Award for Teaching Excellence for the 2013-2014 school year.

Computer systems technology professor Troy Harding wins K-State Salina’s Marchbanks Memorial Award for Teaching Excellence for the 2013-2014 school year.

The honor was given to Harding after he was nominated by his faculty peers and letters of recommendation were written on his behalf to the deciding advisory committee. The award was established more than 30 years ago by the Marchbanks family to annually recognize a K-State Salina faculty member’s commitment in the classroom, service to students, and overall merit as a teacher.

Harding, a professor at K-State Salina since 1999, grew up in Abilene as the son of two educators. What might seem like a destined career path for Harding was actually the furthest thing from his mind as a child.

“It’s very ironic because I had no intention of becoming a teacher,” Harding said. “As a child, I loved exploring nature and dreamt of working for National Geographic. I remember staring at ants for hours.”  Read more

Just for kids: K-State Salina offers summer programs for kindergartners to eighth-graders

College students won’t be the only ones learning on the Kansas State University Salina campus this summer.

K-State Salina is again offering its Discover Programs in aviation, engineering technology and sports for kindergartners to eighth-graders.

The programs began in 2007 as a way for the college to extend its academic offerings beyond the traditional classroom and inspire Salina-area youth to become lifelong learners in a fun, interactive and hands-on environment. The programs also connect the campus with the community, so participants and their parents can experience all that K-State Salina has to offer.

“We know the value of starting youth early in thinking about college and a career. Discover Programs provide an opportunity for kids to be on a college campus, work with college students and faculty, and start to envision what their future could hold,” said Kirsten Zoller, event coordinator for K-State Salina continuing education.

Programs offered, dates and age levels include:

• Aviation Fixation, June 9-11, lets students in the third, fourth and fifth grades discover the world of aviation through hands-on projects with the K-State Salina Flight Team.

• Aviation Fixation 2.0: A Day in the Life of a Pilot, June 9-11, lets students in grades six, seventh and eighth experience the life of a pilot by working through the flight planning process from beginning to end, including taking a flight in a university plane.

• Lil’ Cats Dance, June 16-18, lets kindergartners through eighth-graders learn basic dance and cheer skills from experienced college dancers.

• Wildcat Youth Basketball, June 23-25, helps students develop basketball fundamentals with instruction from qualified coaches. Beginner camp is for second-graders to fifth-graders, and the advanced camp is for sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders.

• Virtual World 2.0: Minecraft Edition, June 30-July 3, lets sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders explore the world of engineering technology through the popular game Minecraft.

Registration details, camp costs and the program schedule can be found at http://salina.k-state.edu/dce/discover/ or contacting Zoller at 785-826-7182.

Designing success: K-State Salina digital media students earn top places in design contest

Two digital media technology students from Kansas State University Salina put what they learned in the classroom to work, taking the top spots in a poster design contest entered as part of a class assignment.

Digital media technology majors Khaled Abduljabbar, left, and Ben Crabtree display their award-winning designs in the Engineering Education Service Center's poster contest.

Ben Crabtree, junior, Shawnee, and Khaled Abduljabbar, senior, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, submitted designs for the Engineering Education Service Center’s poster contest in the engineering technology category. Crabtree placed first and Abduljabbar placed second. This was the first time either student had submitted work for the contest. Both students said they had a strategy for creating their projects.

“I started off by looking at past winners’ designs and decided to focus on using a simple yet inspirational approach,” Crabtree said.

“I threw around a few ideas in class with our teacher Bill Genereux and came up with the concept of using representations of all aspects of engineering on my poster,” Abduljabbar said.

The design contest served a dual purpose for the students as they used it as part of a project in their Digital Media I class as well. Both estimated they spent about two weeks of class time perfecting their creations.

Graphic design is just one of the areas Bill Genereux, associate professor of digital media technology, says is required in the curriculum. Both the associate degree and the four-year degree option, added in fall 2013, include elements of computer programming, physics and animation. Genereux says it’s not a typical design program. It reflects the campus’s rich history of engineering technology and it sets the program’s students apart from the rest.

“There’s something to be said about passing challenging courses — and that’s what makes our students different,” Genereux said. “This program produces students who have a unique set of skills so they will be well-prepared and versatile in the workplace.”

Students interested in digital media at K-State Salina can receive an Associate of Technology in engineering technology with an option in digital media, or they can work toward a Bachelor of Science in engineering technology with a digital media option.

Flying for a cause: K-State Salina provides planes, instructors for middle school aviation program in Wichita

Kansas State University Salina has always been passionate about educating future aviators, so when the university was asked once again to participate in a flying program for at risk youth in Wichita there was no hesitation.

For the second year in a row, K-State Salina partnered with the United Way of the Plains and Airbus Corporate Foundation to help out with the Flying Challenge. On May 9, the university flew eight planes down to Colonel James Jabara Airport where certified flight instructors (CFI’s) from K-State Salina gave more than 60 children from Brooks Technology and Arts Magnet Middle School the ride of their life.

Children from Brooks Middle School in Wichita, along with volunteers from Airbus, Wichita State University and the United Way of the Plains pose next to K-State Salina's airplanes during the 2014 Flying Challenge. Photo courtesy of Delane Butler, United Way of the Plains.

All year long the children from Brooks Middle School have been working with mentors from Airbus and Wichita State University to improve their academic achievement in science, math, technology and engineering through field trips, tutoring and hands-on experiences. The Flying Challenge was the last event of the school year and designed, not only as a final educational component, but also as a reward for their hard work.

Through out the morning, the children were not only able to take a ride in a Wildcat plane, but they also learned about unmanned aircraft systems and participated in a virtual paint lab and machining and design labs.

The program first launched in Toulouse, France, Airbus’ hometown, in 2011 in connection with a local United Way and then branched out to Wichita in 2013.

Topflight: K-State Salina Flight Team wins Loening Trophy at nationals, places 13th overall

The Kansas State University Salina Flight Team has landed the prestigious honor of being recognized as the most outstanding all-around aviation program in the country — and has the trophy to prove it.

For the first time in school history, the K-State Salina team was awarded the Loening Trophy at the National Intercollegiate Flying Association’s SAFECON National Championship, May 12-17, in Columbus, Ohio. The team finished 13th overall at the event.

The trophy, called the oldest and most elite of all collegiate aviation awards, was created by aviation pioneer and inventor Grover Loening and is presented annually to the aviation program that demonstrates its overall excellence. The trophy was first presented — to Harvard University — in 1929, with aviation greats Amelia Earhart and Charles Lindbergh among the judges.

Some members of the Kansas State University Salina Flight Team pose with their awards at the National Intercollegiate Flying Association's SAFECON National Championship. Back row, from left: Alex Osborn, Trevor Henson, Bert Hutchison and faculty adviser Tom Karcz; and front row, from left: John Snyder, Shane Richardson, Ian Barnhart, Taylor Spangler and Tosh Taylor.

“The moment our name was called was absolutely surreal, and on top of that, we were given a standing ovation,” said Tom Karcz, assistant professor of aviation and K-State Salina Flight Team faculty adviser. “The Loening Trophy is a piece of history and we can’t wait to display it on the Salina campus.”

The trophy is made of Tiffany’s pure silver and is uninsurable and irreplaceable. It will be hand-delivered to the campus where it will remain until next year’s national competition.

In October 2013, the K-State Salina Flight Team won its National Intercollegiate Flying Association SAFECON regional for the first time in school history, competing against programs including the University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma State University and the University of Nebraska, Omaha. The top three teams from each regional were then invited to participate at nationals. The national championship consisted of a variety of tests both on the ground and while flying, including landing a plane accurately, navigating a flight plan and attempting to hit a target while dropping an item from the air.

“The team members put their noses to the grindstone and started studying early on in the semester,” said Ian Barnhart, junior in professional pilot, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and team captain. “There were even a few nights we were up very late working in the hotel lobby. Obviously everyone’s dedication paid off, and I’m very proud of what we accomplished.

The team has 18 members, with 12 members for the competition team after a try-out process.

While the National Intercollegiate Flying Association SAFECON National Championship is primarily an opportunity for universities to send their best and brightest aviation students to demonstrate their knowledge and training, it also gives the competitors a chance to think about the future.

“This event isn’t just about titles and trophies. It gave our students the opportunity to network with fellow competitors and potential employers,” Karcz said. “Aviation organizations and companies from across the nation attend, too, and one of our team members even had a job interview while we were there.”

Along with Barnhart, members of the K-State Salina Flight Team, all professional pilot majors, who competed at nationals and their individual placings, if earned, included:

Martin Harvey, junior, Andover; Taylor Spangler, junior, Andover, seventh in the power off landing event and 12th in short-field landing event; Tosh Taylor, senior, Riley, 17th in the ground trainer event; Alex Zinser, junior, Roeland Park; John Snyder, senior, Salina, first in the certified flight instructor event; Cameron Calvert, senior, Wichita; and Bert Hutchison, senior, Wichita, sixth in the crew resource management and line oriented flight training event and seventh in the IFR simulator event.

Tyler Thull, junior, Fort Collins, Colorado; Trevor Henson, senior, Dunlap, Illinois, sixth in the crew resource management and line oriented flight event; Alex Osborn, sophomore, Newton, Iowa; and Shane Richardson, senior, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Along with competing annually, flight team members also use their club as way to give back to the community and to connect children with aviation. Throughout the year the team is a part of several events like the All-University Open House and Candy Canes and Airplanes. It also conducts two aviation camps in the summer for kids.

The flight team received support throughout the year from the K-State Salina aviation department; the K-State Salina Student Governing Association; Verna Fitzsimmons, CEO and dean of K-State Salina; individual donors; and a variety of corporations.

For more information on the flight team, the competition or K-State Salina’s professional pilot program, contact Karcz at 785-826-2979 or tkarcz@k-state.edu.