Kansas State University


College of Arts & Sciences eNewsletter

College Highlights, October 2016

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






Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies


Johnson Cancer Research Center

Journalism and Media Communication


Music, Theatre and Dance

Political Science

Psychological Sciences

Sociology, Anthropology and, Social Work


A team of biologists from K-State were honored with a national publication award at the annual conference of The Wildlife Society, Oct. 15-19, in Raleigh, North Carolina.

The research team from K-State included David Haukos, leader of the Kansas Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit; Brett Sandercock, professor of biology; Andrew Gregory, 2011 doctoral graduate and assistant professor at Bowling Green State University; Lance McNew, 2010 doctoral graduate and prairie chickensassistant professor at Montana State University; and Virginia Winder, 2013 postdoctoral fellow and assistant professor at Benedictine College.

The team received the 2016 award for Best Article for “Factors Affecting Female Space Use in Ten Populations of Prairie Chickens” that was published in the open-access journal Ecosphere in September 2015. Photo of prairie chickens courtesy Division of Biology Facebook page. Return to top

Chemistry / English

Four faculty members at two universities in Kansas have been named recipients of the state’s most prestigious recognition for scholarly excellence: the Higuchi-KU Endowment Research Achievement Awards. The four will be recognized Dec. 13 during a ceremony at the Kansas Memorial Union.

This year’s recipients from K-State are both faculty in the College of Arts & Sciences: Christer Aakeroy, university distinguished professor of chemistry, and Philip Nel, university distinguished professor of English.

This is the 35th annual presentation of the awards, established in 1981 by Takeru Higuchi, a distinguished professor at the University of Kansas from 1967 to 1983, and his wife, Aya. The awards recognize the exceptional long-term research accomplishments of faculty at Kansas Board of Regents universities. Each award includes a citation and a $10,000 award for ongoing research efforts. The money can be used for research materials, summer salaries, fellowship matching funds, hiring research assistants or other support related to research.

Awards are given in four categories: humanities and social sciences, basic sciences, biomedical sciences and applied sciences. Each award is named for former leaders of KU Endowment who played key roles in recruiting Higuchi to KU. Their financial support of KU helped enhance university research throughout Kansas.

Nel is the recipient of the the Balfour Jeffrey Award in Humanities and Social Sciences. He is an internationally renowned expert in literature, with a specific area of focus on the understanding of literature written for children. At K-State, he co-founded and serves as the director of the program in children’s literature. He has presented and published extensively, including 10 books and 24 refereed articles. His most recent book, “The Complete Barnaby, Volume Three: 1946-1947,” is the third of five co-edited volumes that will comprise the first complete collection of the Crockett Johnson comic strip. His 11th book, forthcoming from Oxford University Press in summer 2017, will be “Was the Cat in the Hat Black?: The Hidden Racism of Children’s Literature, and the Need for Diverse Books.” Nel came to K-State in 2000. His academic background includes a bachelor’s degree from the University of Rochester and a master’s degree and doctorate from Vanderbilt University.

Aakeroy is the recipient of the Olin Petefish Award in Basic Sciences. He an international leader in the emerging fields of crystal engineering and supramolecular chemistry, which involve exploration and application of chemistry “beyond the molecule.” His research program combines fundamental and applied aspects of intermolecular interactions and materials science. His research has garnered more than $9 million in external support since 2000, attracting major grants from the National Science Foundation, the Department of Defense, NIH, the Petroleum Research Fund and industry. Aakeroy joined the faculty in the chemistry department at K-State in 1996. His academic background includes a master’s degree from Uppsala University, Sweden, and a doctorate from the University of Sussex, United Kingdom.

KU Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little will speak at the presentation ceremony. She will be joined by Jim Tracy, vice chancellor for research. Past Higuchi Award recipients who attend also will be recognized.

Attendance at the Dec. 13 ceremony is by invitation. More information about the Higuchi-KU Endowment Research Awards is available online.

The awardees from KU are Judith Carta, professor of special education and senior scientist at the Schiefelbusch Institute for Lifespan Studies and Randolph Nudo, Marion Merrell Dow Distinguished Professor in Aging and professor and vice chairman of Research in the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Kansas Medical Center.

The fund is managed by KU Endowment, the independent, nonprofit organization serving as the official fundraising and fund-management organization for KU. Founded in 1891, KU Endowment was the first foundation of its kind at a U.S. public university. Return to top


Lisa M.B. Harrington, professor of geography, published an edited volume titled Natural Resources for Sustainability through Berkshire Press of Great Barrington, Lisa MB HarringtonMassachusetts. Dr. Harrington’s teaching and research are in the areas of natural resource geography and sustainability science. The volume contains 32 articles covering the use of natural resources, including the concerns about their future availability and management approaches to them. Dr. Harrington is a noted authority on rural land use, public lands, and the sustainable use of natural resources.Dr. Francesco Orsi


Francesco Orsi, assistant professor of geography, has been named to the editorial board of the Journal of Environmental Assessment Policy and Management. Dr. Orsi is a recognized authority on sustainable transportation in natural and protected areas. Return to top


The K-State Geology Society of Exploration Geophysicists (SEG) Student Chapter placed in the top 5 at the recent SEG annual meeting and was recognized with promotion to Ridge Level status. The SEG Student Chapter Excellence Program aims to encourage students to engage in issues, challenges and opportunities that promote the science of geophysics. The society recognizes engagement at three status levels: Base, Ridge and Summit. The activities and contributions of K-State’s SEG Student Chapter that have earned them this promotion in status include: participation in student leadership workshops, leading-edge geophysical field activities, high-profile conference presentations, and hosting prominent speakers. Chapter president Austin Krehel presented the chapter’s activities, as well as a synopsis about the K-State Geology department, during the 2016 SEG National meeting in Dallas (Oct. 16 – 21, 2016). The Chapter is supervised by Dr. Abdelmoneam Raef, associate professor of geology, and supported by the Department of Geology and by SEG. Return to top

Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies

“Why should we care about animals when humans continue to be oppressed?” Harlan Weaver, assistant professor of gender, women, and sexuality weaver posterstudies, gave a talk seeking to respond to this question as part of Montana State University’s College of Letters & Science Distinguished Speaker Series on Oct. 6. Weaver’s presentation, “It’s Me and the Dog: Imagining Multi Species Justice,” discussed and refuted the rhetoric of such questions positioning the concerns of marginalized humans as counter to those of animals. Explaining a means of thinking and understanding human and animal needs together through examples such as the Michael Vick case and contemporary controversies in dog training, Weaver demonstrated a form of justice oriented toward both humans and nonhuman animals.

Gabriela Díaz de Sabatés, assistant professor of gender, women, and sexuality studies, presented “It is Exactly as I’m Telling You: Intersecting Gender, Race, Class, and Migratory Status When Reflecting on the Oral Testimonies of Migrant Latina Undergraduate Women in the U.S.A.” at the sixth International Oral History Conference in Tucumán, Argentina.

Díaz de Sabatés’ paper elaborates on how these identities intersect with college experiences to affect Latina undergraduate students’ academic persistence in a predominately white, research-extensive Midwestern state university. The paper emphasizes how these students’ life narratives speak not only of their individual experiences, but also contextualize their identities and experiences in relation to society. In her paper, Díaz de Sabatés affirms that undergraduate Latinas’ life narratives are students’ essential tool to generate alternative and inclusive ways to understand themselves within a cultural context that is different from their culture of origin, while bridging them together. Díaz de Sabatés’ travel was funded by a 2016 Faculty Development Award and the Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies department. Return to top


Phil Tiemeyer, a first-semester faculty member in the history department, was featured in NPR’s article “Researchers Clear ‘Patient Zero’ From AIDS Origin Story,” and Oct. 27 episode of “Morning Edition.”

Tiemeyer was interviewed about “Patient Zero,” the Air Canada steward who was alleged to have brought AIDS to America, thereby beginning the AIDS epidemic in the early 1980s. NPR featured Tiemeyer for his work examining how gay male flight attendants in the U.S. combated sexism and homophobia.

Tiemeyer’s scholarship focuses on how gender and sexuality has interacted with other social forces, such as the legal system, workplace management practices, the labor movement and technological innovation.

His first book, “Plane Queer: Labor, Sexuality, and AIDS in the History of Male Flight Attendants,” won the 2015 John Boswell Prize for outstanding book in the field of LGBT history, awarded by the American Historical Association’s Committee on LGBT History.

James Sherow, professor of history at K-State for more than 20 years, is a winner of the Midwestern History Association’s prestigious Hamlin Garland Prize, which is awarded to projects that represent the best in popular history writing about the American Midwest.Sherow received the award with John Charlton for their co-authored book “Railroad Empire Across the Heartland: Rephotographing jamessherow-smAlexander Gardner’s Westward Journey.” The award was presented Oct. 21 at the annual meeting of the Midwestern History Association in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Charlton is a retired photographer for the Kansas Geological Survey at the University of Kansas.

“Railroad Empire Across the Heartland: Rephotographing Alexander Gardner’s Westward Journey” was also named a 2015 Kansas Notable Book by the State Library of Kansas. Gardner was a noted Civil War photographer who also documented the construction of the Union Pacific Railroad across Kansas, which started in 1867. In their book, Sherow and Charlton look at how the landscape has changed in the nearly 150 years since the railroad’s construction.

“I’m truly excited to receive the Hamlin Garland Prize,” Sherow said. “As an academic historian, I’m delighted to see my work recognized for its appeal to a broad public audience.” Return to top

Johnson Cancer Research Center

The Johnson Cancer Research Center, in partnership with Komen Kansas, presenterpresented the 7th annual Pink Power Luncheon for breast cancer awareness Oct. 21. Nearly 190 guests, including many K-Staters and cancer survivors, enjoyed free lunch and informative presentations. The guest speaker, Dr. Annelise Nguyen, K-State diagnostic medicine/pathobiology, presented “Understanding the Origin of and Therapies for Breast Cancer.”

marching band beat cancer formationThe Johnson Cancer Research Center, along with many K-State fans and the Marching Band, celebrated K-State Fighting for a Cure Day Oct. 8. K-Staters everywhere united in wearing their Fighting for a Cure shirts to show their pride in the university’s fight against cancer. The Marching Band did a special halftime tribute and the cancer research center cohosted one of ArtSci’s Tailgate Parties in Cat Town. Close to 600 shirts have sold so far this year, raising more than $7,500 for cancer research and education programs in 20 departments at K-State. Return to top

Journalism and Media Communicationjmc_wolgast_page_2

Stephen Wolgast, assistant professor of journalism, addressed the Kansas Humanities Council’s board of directors in Wichita on Oct. 20 about the importance of the First Amendment in a talk titled “Speak Up, Speak Out.” Wolgast, a Kansas Humanities Scholar, is a former editor at The New York Times and is the faculty adviser to the Collegian. Joining him at the presentation was Dion Lefler, a political reporter for the Wichita Eagle.

Two JMC students were recognized as Grand Prize winners during the 2016 South Central Broadcast Society annual conference held in Dallas Oct. 14-15. Katherine Johnston and Anthony Williams are both seniors who will graduate this December. Johnston won the grand prize for Top TV Talent, while Williams won the grand prize for his Instructional Video “Maize Mosiac Virus.” Williams’ video was produced in collaboration with Dr. Anna Whitfield’s National Science Foundation funded research and was featured on NSF’s Science360.com website. Return to top


Professor of Mathematics Marianne Korten was featured in the Latin@s and Hispanics in Mathematical Sciences (Lathisms) Hispanic Heritage Calendar in late September. National Hispanic Heritage Month is Sept. 15 to Oct. 15. The site marianne kortenprofiled one mathematician per day to support the accurate depiction of Latin@s’ and Hispanics’ participation in the field as congruent with U.S. demographic representation. “What [my mentors] offered me, and what we have the privilege and honor duty to pass on, is to keep our profession welcoming,” Korten said in her interview. “A place where people from all walks of life, genders, religions, political views, and ethnicities could enjoy and celebrate learning and doing mathematics together.” Click here to read the full profile. Return to top

Music, Theatre and Dance

Craig Weston’s chamber music piece, “Glimmer,” received its premiere at the College Music Society National Conference in October. Dr. Weston, associate professor of music, won the national biennial commissioning composition from Pi Kappa Lambda, the national music honor fraternity. The piece was premiered by K-State music faculty Tod Kerstetter, David Littrell, and Slawomir Dobrzanski.

pollMelissa Poll, adjunct instructor of theatre, has been awarded a $81,000 postdoctoral fellowship through the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. Poll will hold her award in the English department at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, British Columbia. Her project, “Towards Reconciliation: Recognizing the Intergenerational Repercussions of Colonization through Intercultural Performance-Making,” will focus on a First Nations opera staged in Vancouver, the Royal Winnipeg Ballet’s “Going Home Star-Truth and Reconciliation” ballet, and Choctaw artist Randy Reinholz’s “Off the Rails,” an adaptation of William Shakespeare’s “Measure for Measure,” which will open at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in July 2017.

Slawomir Dobrzanski, professor of music, has been selected to receive the prestigious Badge of Honor for Outstanding Contributions to Polish Culture awarded by the Republic of Poland. The decoration will be presented to Dobrzanski at an official ceremony Dec. 9 at the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in Chicago. Return to top

Political Science

Kansas State University’s Political Science graduate program was ranked #1 in the nation by graduateprograms.com. The data used for the ranking comes top grad sealdirectly from surveys of current students and recent graduates. K-State earned an overall score of 4.85 out of 5 and exemplary scores in campus safety, advising, and instruction quality. K-State also stands out for being an excellent program for the budget-conscious student. Graduateprograms.com notes the cost of a degree at “Kansas State University should stand out…average out-of-state annual tuition costs of less than $20,000 and less than $10,000 for state residents.” Return to top

Psychological Sciences

amanda martensPsychological Sciences doctoral student Amanda Martens is this year’s recipient of the K-State Graduate Student Council Award for Teaching Excellence by a doctoral student. Amanda is the fourth recipient from Psychological Sciences over the past five years.

After completing her master’s thesis at Emporia State University, Amanda joined the Department of Psychological Science as a Ph.D. student in 2013. To date, Amanda has been the instructor of record ten times. She taught Introductory Psychology six times at Emporia State. Since joining K-State in our Social-Personality graduate program, Amanda has taught Psychology of Women (twice), Personality Psychology, and Social Psychology. Return to top

Sociology, Anthropology, and Social Work

The City of Manhattan’s Flint Hills Discovery Center seeks to inspire people to celebrate, explore, and care for the natural and cultural environment of the Flint Hills, past and present. Permanent and temporary exhibits, an immersive experience, and public programming for all ages are used to reach this goal.

ritterbushExhibits highlighting the early Native peoples of this region are enhanced through educational programs developed through matching support of an engagement incentive grant. This project, “Bringing Archaeology Home: Interpreting Central Plains Tradition Lifeways through Interactive Programming,” is organized by Lauren W. Ritterbush, associate professor of anthropology/archaeology, and the education staff of the Discovery Center. The project seeks to promote public understanding of the cultural diversity of the Flint Hills over time through expanded educational programming designed to supplement the Winds of the Past gallery. This story was published in its entirety by the K-State Center for Engagement and Community Development. Click here to read the full story.
Brad Logan, research associate Professor, and Lauren W. Ritterbush, associate professor, participated in the 74th Annual Plains Anthropological Conference in Lincoln, Nebraska Oct. 12-15. Together they organized and chaired the symposium “The Unfilled Vessel, the Kindled Mind” in memory of K-State Research Associate Professor Donna C. Roper. Ritterbush began the symposium with a presentation “Setting the Stage: Donna C. Roper’s Approach and Contributions to Plains-Midwest Archaeology” while Logan presented research related to one of Roper’s broad interests. His presentation, titled “The Formation of Late Prehistoric Household Assemblages in the Central Plains,” was among eight additional papers that directly or indirectly built upon Roper’s varied research.
Ritterbush was also an invited participant in a symposium organized by the Tribal Historical Preservation Officer of the Iowa Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska titled “The Leary Site National Historic Landmark: An Archaeological Landscape on the Reservation of the Iowa Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska.” Return to top

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