Kansas State University


College of Arts & Sciences eNewsletter

College Highlights, September 2016

In the College of Arts and Sciences, there are always big things happening. Take a look at some of our highlights from September 2016:





Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies


Journalism and Mass Communications

Military Science (Army ROTC)

Modern Languages

Music, Theatre, and Dance


Psychological Sciences

Sociology, Anthropology, and Social Work



lo Lo VidiAssociate Professor of Printmaking Jason Scuilla was invited to show his prints, including lo Lo Vidi (pictured at left), in an invitational group exhibition titled Grafica D’Arte Americana Contemporanea, September 9 – 23 at the Galleria Il Bisonte, Florence, Italy. The exhibition was curated by Andrew DeCaen.






Assistant Professor of Graphic Design Daniel Warner had two posters selected to appear in the Ecuador Poster Bienal. The Ecuador Poster Bienal is the principal axis of visual communication for the new continent, focusing its efforts as an academic, professional and creative event. Pictured at right is Warner’s Verfall. His poster Music Is Oxygen also received an Award of Excellence from Creative Quarterly: The Journal of Art and Design.




Assistant Professor of Ceramics Amy Santoferraro had works accepted into the group show Ceramics as Deception at the Urban Arts Space gallery in Columbus, Ohio. Pictured at left is Santoferraro’s Bubblegum. Return to top.



Alice Boyle was invited to two oral symposium presentations at the North American Ornithological Conference in Washington DC in late August and also presented three co-authored sessions with members of her K-State lab at thealice-boyle same meeting. The lab and K-State Biology had a major presence at this meeting—the largest ornithological conference in history.

Boyle is also spearheading a two-year, $200,000 National Science Foundation project to investigate how climate variation affects the survival, condition and reproduction of a small tropical bird, the white-ruffed manakin. The study aims to fill important information gaps that hamper our ability to predict consequences and mitigate ongoing global climate change.

Kathrin Schrick has been awarded a $321,000 grant from the National Science Foundation Genetic Mechanisms Program in the Division of Molecular and Cellular Biosciences. The gran, titled “START Lipid/Sterol Binding Domains in Homeodomain Transcription Factors from Plants,” will enable research to investigate protein-metabolite interactions underlying changes in gene expression in plants using the model system Arabidopsis. Schrick says, “We want to understand how plants respond to internal metabolic signals during development. The regulatory proteins we study are known to affect biomass in crop plants, so elucidating the mechanisms underlying transcriptional activity is of relevance to agriculture as well as to ecological systems.” The grant will fund postdoctoral trainees, STEM outreach activities, as well as two undergraduate summer students per year to participate in the Division of Biology REU program on Ecology and Evolutionary Biology of Changing Environments. Return to top.
Continue reading “College Highlights, September 2016”

College Highlights, August 2016

In the College of Arts and Sciences, there are always big things happening. Take a look at some of our highlights from August 2016:

Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics



Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies



Journalism and Mass Communications

Modern Languages

Music, Theatre, and Dance


Sociology, Anthropology, and Social Work


Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics

Michael Kanost, university distinguished professor of biochemistry and molecular biophysics, led a team of 114 researchers from 50 institutions and 11 countries in a project to sequence and annotate the genome of the tobacco hornworm — a caterpillar species used in many research laboratories for studies of insect biology. The researchers have published their work “Multifaceted biological insights from a draft genome sequence of the tobacco hornworm moth, Manduca sexta” in the journal Insect Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and have made the genome sequence available to the public through the National Agricultural Library.

“This project represents years of collaborative research across the world,” said Kanost, who studies insect immune systems. “We wanted to provide these valuable data to scientists, and our hope is that this sequenced genome will stimulate new research in molecular studies of insects.”

The tobacco hornworm, or Manduca sexta, develops into the Carolina sphinx moth. The name Manduca comes from the Latin word for glutton because these caterpillars eat so much. Manduca sexta occurs naturally in North, Central and South America and is a known pest to gardeners: It eats the leaves of tomato plants and also can be found on pepper, eggplant and potato plants. Crops and weeds from this plant family, which includes tobacco, produce chemicals such as nicotine that deter feeding by most insects, but not Manduca sexta, which makes its physiology especially interesting to scientists. The sequenced genome can lead to improved molecular biology, physiology and neurobiology research in insects and also may help in developing future new methods for insect pest management.

The life cycle of the tobacco hornworm, or Manduca sexta.
The life cycle of the tobacco hornworm, or Manduca sexta.

Kanost has studied the tobacco hornworm for decades, and he and Gary Blissard, from the Boyce Thompson Institute at Cornell University, decided to start the collaborative project to sequence the tobacco hornworm’s genome in 2009. Kanost’s research focuses on proteins in caterpillar’s blood and how insects protect themselves against infections. Kanost and the Kansas State University research team prepared and purified the DNA of the tobacco hornworm and sent the samples to the Baylor College of Medicine Human Genome Sequencing Center in Houston, which performed the genome sequencing. The international team used a common computer system so that the researchers from around the world could analyze the gene sequences based on their areas of expertise.

Other Kansas State University researchers involved in the project included Susan Brown, university distinguished professor of biology; Rollie Clem, professor of biology; William Bryant, research assistant professor in biology; Neal Dittmer, research assistant professor of biochemistry and molecular biophysics; Subbaratnam Muthukrishnan, university distinguished professor emeritus of biochemistry and molecular biophysics; Lorena Passarelli, professor of biology; Yoonseong Park, professor of entomology; Nicolae Herndon, doctoral graduate in computer science; Jayne Christen, doctoral graduate and former postdoctoral research associate in biochemistry and molecular biophysics; and Di Wu, former postdoctoral research associate in biochemistry and molecular biophysics. The project received financial support from the National Institutes of Health (Kanost) and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA (Blissard). Return to top


Walter Dodds, university distinguished professor of biology, was named an inaugural fellow of the Society for Freshwater Science.

Dodds is recognized for his contributions to freshwater science, promoting freshwater science through education and outreach and membership in the society. The society’s board of directors selected fellows for the inaugural class.

The society is an international scientific organization that promotes further understanding of freshwater ecosystems — rivers, streams, wetlands and lakes — and ecosystems at the interface between aquatic and terrestrial habitats, such as streamside vegetation. Dodds will be recognized and inducted into the inaugural class of fellows at the society’s annual meeting, June 4-9, 2017, in Raleigh, North Carolina. Return to top


The Comics of Herge: When the Lines Are Not So Clear book coverJoe Sutliff Sanders, associate professor of English, published two edited collections: “The Comics of Herge: When the Lines Are Not So Clear” (UP of Mississippi, 2016) and, with colleague Michelle Ann Abate, “Good Grief! Children’s Comics, Past and Present” (Ohio State University Libraries, 2016).

Sanders also published essays in each collection: “Herge’s Occupations: How the Creator of Tintin Made a Deal with the Devil and Became a Better Cartoonist” and “How Comics Became Kids’ Stuff.” Return to top

Continue reading “College Highlights, August 2016”

Join us for Wildcat tailgating fun!

The College of Arts and Sciences hosts a tailgate party in Cat Town prior to each home football game this season and we are extending an invitation to the entire ArtSci family to join the fun and connect with your college!

Last year, nearly 500 college alumni and friends made this the best pre-game party in Cat Town. We hope you’ll join the fun in 2016!

People in purple K-State shirts eating barbecue under a white and purple striped tent.


Cost: $25 per person

Location: Cat Town, USA, which is located at the south end of the west parking lot at Bill Snyder Family Stadium. Click for a map.

Start time: The party starts two hours prior to kickoff for each home game.

What does your $25 include?

  • Catered food and drinks from local favorite Cox Brothers BBQ
  • Pre-game visit from the K-State Marching Band
  • Opportunity to meet the Dean
  • Departmental updates
  • Purple Pride to take with you, like pens, chip clips, magnets and more
  • The festive pre-game atmosphere of Cat Town, USA leading up to kickoff


To RSVP, click the “Register/RSVP” link next to the picture of Willie Wildcat on the following link: www.found.ksu.edu/rsvp/as-cattown


Need tickets to the game? Contact the K-State ticket office at www.kstatesports.com or 800-221-CATS.


Anthropology Professor Launches New Podcast

Associate Professor of Anthropology at K-State Mike Wesch is determined to shake up traditional teaching methods and the ways faculty and students interact with and understand each other.

Three people sitting in a radio production studio. Two are young male students and one is professor Mike Wesch, creator of the "Life 101" poscast.
Wesch (far right) discusses “Life101” story ideas with students during a production team meeting.

Wesch has been dubbed “the prophet of an education revolution” by the Kansas City Star and “the explainer” by Wired magazine. He was named an Emerging Explorer by National Geographic and has won several major awards for his work, including the US Professor of the Year Award from the Carnegie Foundation and the Wired Magazine Rave Award. His videos, which touch on issues of pedagogy and cultural understanding, have been viewed more than 20 million times, translated into 20 languages and are frequently featured at international film festivals and major academic conferences worldwide.

His latest project is a podcast, “Life101,” in which he seeks to tell the stories of college students through their own words and share their lived experiences in their own spaces. The goal? To lay bare the multifaceted, complicated, unique and ever-changing lives of modern students for a generation of faculty who are content to rely on Millennial stereotypes.

“The end game [of this research] is to allow all teachers and students to see past the stereotypes that lock us in to thinking this or that way about different people and about college life,” Wesch said. Continue reading “Anthropology Professor Launches New Podcast”

Weekend of Performing Arts Brings Purple to Kansas City

RhapsodyBy Kaylee Engle
Communications Student Assistant

The School of Music, Theatre, and Dance in the College of Arts & Sciences at Kansas State University will bring its talent to Kansas City for a weekend of performing arts. The weekend will feature a dinner on the Plaza, a theatre production and the showcase event, “Rhapsody II”, at the Kauffman Center for Performing Arts May 9-10.

“Most performances of the School of Music, Theater, and Dance are done on campus and we’re excited to take our show to our alumni in the Kansas City area,” said Joshua Oppenheim, co-director of Choral Studies. “This is a great opportunity Continue reading “Weekend of Performing Arts Brings Purple to Kansas City”

History Doctoral Students Enjoy Work at Eisenhower Museum

Troy Elkins 200x200By Jacinda Dent
Communications Student Assistant

For history doctoral students Troy Elkins and Jeff Nelson, an ideal day is spent among historic artifacts and documents.

Elkins and Nelson both work at the Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum in Abilene, Kansas, the boyhood home of Dwight “Ike” D. Eisenhower who was 34th president of the United States, serving from 1953 to 1961.

An open internship at the museum is offered to Continue reading “History Doctoral Students Enjoy Work at Eisenhower Museum”

Criminologist ‘hacks’ the hacker, explores meaning of hacking

hacker 200x300By Jennifer Tidball
K-State Today

We often view hackers as evil geniuses, but perhaps a more accurate depiction would be a talented — though sometimes mischievous — craft worker, according to a Kansas State University researcher.

The way society views hackers is not representative of the whole hacking culture, said Kevin Steinmetz, assistant professor of sociology, anthropology and social work in the College of Arts and Sciences. Simply stated: Hacking is more than breaking into security systems and computer networks.

“Hackers are sort of portrayed as this digital other, lurking in the Continue reading “Criminologist ‘hacks’ the hacker, explores meaning of hacking”

Chief George Tiger gives keynote address

Chief George TigerBy Dwanna Robertson

On Tuesday, March 24, more than 200 people were in attendance to hear George Tiger, principal chief of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation and regent for Haskell Indian Nations University, deliver a keynote address that outlined overcoming adversity to achieve progress and community advancement through themes of vision, education, leadership and unity.

Students, staff, faculty, community members and representatives from K-State and the state of Kansas gathered at Continue reading “Chief George Tiger gives keynote address”

Kansas State University Marching Band named among best in the land

pride 200x200The Pride of Wildcat Land, the Kansas State University Marching Band, has reached national prestige.

The band has received the Sudler Trophy, which is given every two years to recognize the top marching band in the U.S.
 Frank Tracz, professor of music and the university’s director of bands, received the award Friday at the McCormick Place Convention Center in Chicago.

“We are so proud of Dr. Tracz, our students, our staff and all Continue reading “Kansas State University Marching Band named among best in the land”

Exploring the Digital Humanities

vP_Q0yrc_400x400By Thomas Webb
Communications Student Writer

While digital humanities may still be a mystery to many on campus there is one place that is attempting to promote the still nascent field. The Digital Humanities Center in the College of Arts & Sciences at K-State, DHCenter@KSU for short, is an English Department initiative that looks to explore and encourage humanities research and teaching in our digital world.

As the Digital Humanities Coordinator and Blake Archive Continue reading “Exploring the Digital Humanities”