Kansas State University


K-State Parents and Family Association

Author: Sadie Polson

WildcatLink Provides K-State Students with a Network of Alumni and Mentors

Establishing a professional network early can be the key to a successful job hunt and can help to bridge the gap between the college education and career. Launched in Fall 2017, WildcatLink was created to connect K-State students, faculty and staff, and alumni and friends for career-related support.

The two main parts to WildcatLink are networking and mentoring. Users may participate in only networking, only mentoring, or both. These preferences are selected during sign-up and can be changed at any point in the future.

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K-State 360: A Tool for Collecting Experiences

Director of K-State 360 Christa Dell’Isola

Christa Dell’Isola, the Director of K-State 360, met up with PFA Intern Sadie Polson this week to share all things K-State 360 with our parents and families. Dell’Isola, a Missouri native, studied entertainment management at Missouri State University. She previously taught Algebra 2 for Teach for America and has worked for Financial Guru Dave Ramsey, Walt Disney World, and the Kansas City Chiefs prior to joining the K-State Family in August 2018.

PFA Intern: Christa, thank you for allowing PFA to learn more about K-State 360. We greatly appreciate you sharing information about this important program with us.

Christa: No problem! Thank you for asking me!

PFA Intern: Of course. To kick things off, can you share a couple sentences that describes what K-State 360 is to parents and families?

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A Premier Education Abroad Opportunity

Crystal Miller, K-State in Italy, Summer 2018

At K-State, over 800 students study, intern, volunteer, or research abroad every year. Students earn credit toward their KSU degree requirements, build collaborative international partnerships, and develop skills and competencies that give them an advantage as they enter a global economy and competitive job market after graduation.

Ask most education abroad returnees, and there is a good chance they will credit their experience abroad as one of their most influential and rewarding experiences in college. Upon a student’s return, their parents, too, often notice the difference in their student’s confidence and adaptability, their ability to act more independently and take initiative, and the way they manage stress and cope with adversity. Each of these skills and competencies acquired abroad is transferable to life back at K-State and after graduation. According to one parent of a study abroad student, “it was initially difficult for us to ‘let go’, but our daughter returned to campus with new perspectives, not only of global cultures, but observations of her own U.S. and Kansas culture as well. We feel that her K-State international experiences played a big role in determining her career trajectory.”

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Thrifty Giving with Powercat Financial

Powercat Financial’s Thrifty Gifting Holiday Budgeting workshop held in early November provided students tips and trick to reduce holiday financial stress. Trained peer financial counselors helped students learn ways to manage and save money during the holiday season on gift buying, travel, etc. A few of those tips can also be found on the Powercat Financial blog. We provided free food, fun bingo games and lots of wonderful prizes including two Country Stampede tickets. Students who attended also took one step closer to completing the K-State 360 College Financial Planning Badge, as this event qualified for one of the elective options towards earning that badge.

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10 Best Ways for College Parents to Stay Involved, on and off campus

Halfway through your student’s first year of college, you may or may not be used to this new phase of parenthood — where you follow the events of their life from a distance, waiting for them to tell you what’s new. After years of attending games and concerts, chaperoning field trips, and volunteering in classrooms and at their activities, you wonder if it’s possible to feel even a fraction of that connection to their new campus life.

It turns out, there are many ways for you to assist the college or university. Budgets are tight and schools appreciate family members stepping up to support their student and the institution. Your interest and energy is welcome both on and off the campus!

Here are some ideas for staying involved.

Attend family events on campus

The Office of Parent & Family Programs at your student’s college plans many events to bring you back to campus. Family Weekend (usually held in autumn, but sometimes second semester), Grandparents Day and Siblings Weekend allow you to reconnect with your student and enjoy all the campus has to offer. Be sure to sign up for the online family newsletter to keep up with campus news.

Be a Family Ambassador

Parent ambassadors are needed to help with campus events and as a resource for new parents and families throughout the year. As an Ambassador, you’ll get to share what you have learned about being the parent of a first-year college student.

Volunteer to host a Summer Roundup/Sendoff for new students

At Summer Roundups and Sendoffs, students entering college in the fall are able to meet other students, and sometimes faculty and staff, before the school year starts. It’s also a chance for parents and families to mingle and share useful information.

Volunteer as a mentor through the Career Center

Offer to assist the Career Center as a mentor. Support the students by sharing your expertise in resumé writing, interviews and internships.

These are just a few ways to stay connected. Keep an eye on the college’s website to see what activities are coming up, and check with the school to find other volunteer opportunities.

Attend campus performances and athletic events

College and university dance, music, improv and theatre productions offer high quality entertainment and are a fun way to spend time with your student and their friends. Look out for student art exhibitions, too. And of course it’s always exciting to cheer on the school’s student athletes.

Join the Parent & Family Council

This group represents the family perspective to university administrators and fundraises for the Parent & Family Association and the school. It is a great way to get to know other parents while learning about and supporting the college’s current priorities and projects.

Help the Office of Admissions welcome new families

The Office of Admissions loves having family members of current students write letters of welcome to the families of newly-admitted students!

Support the local community

Colleges work hard to have a productive relationship with the city or town where they are located. You can be a part of this. Collect food for the Student Food Pantry or contribute to a local non-profit where students volunteer.

Be a voice for the college with local, state and national government

Lending your voice to a cause that can improve your student’s college, or advocating for higher education in general, is quite impactful.

Talk to your student

Of course you already do this! But over winter break, and at other times, try asking open-ended questions that can lead your student to reflect and share more. These conversations will stay with both of you for a long, long time. This is, after all, the best way to be involved with their college experience.


Content provided by Priscilla Childress, Collegiate Parent 

Maximize Opportunities with Academic Advising

Ashley Thomas, Academic Advisor, College of Business Administration

With students knee-deep in midterm exams and spring enrollment right around the corner, PFA Intern Sadie Polson took time to meet with Ashley Thomas, an academic advisor in her 6th year at K-State. Thomas is a 2003 graduate of K-State’s College of Agriculture and is working on a doctorate in Counseling and Student Development through the K-State College of Education.

PFA Intern: Ashley, I know this time of year is incredibly hectic for you as students begin preparing for spring enrollment, so thank you  for taking the time to answer a few questions for our parents and families.

Ashley: No problem, Sadie! Thank you for asking me.

PFA Intern: Of course. Let’s get to it. Ashley, what are three words you would use to describe the academic advisor role? 

Ashley: Academic advisors provide guidance. The term “advisor” is misleading sometimes, because we rarely give advice, but instead provide guidance to help our students make informed decisions. In my role, I should have knowledge of policies, procedures, and information at a high level, so that I can assist my students in making the best decisions for their goals and needs. Every student’s situation is different, so rarely do I give advice.

Secondly, support – we refer many students to other resources on campus or in the community. It’s my job to know what resources are available to my students to help with various situations, whether that’s personal, academic, career, etc.

Lastly, I think it’s very important for advisors to actively listen to their students – not to reply, but to understand. People in general like to listen to reply. Academic advising is sitting back and actively listening to our students so that we may understand how to accommodate to their individual needs and help them to be successful.

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We’re Still Here: Hale Library closes, but services continue

A fire on May 22 caused significant damage to Hale Library, and the building is closed for the 2018-19 school year. According to Dean of Libraries Lori Goetsch, the damage occurred on multiple fronts.

“The fire was isolated to the roof, but several hundreds of thousands of gallons of water flowed through the building during the firefighting efforts,” she said. “In addition, soot and smoke damaged everything in the building, including most of the books.”

A large amount of furniture, shelving, carpet and drop ceiling throughout the 550,000-square-foot building had to be disposed of. Sections of drywall were removed: In some places, only the bottom two feet were damaged by water; in others, all of the drywall was wet, and the walls were stripped down to the studs. The scope of the damage can be difficult to comprehend.

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K-State Proud Student Campaign: A Valued K-State Tradition

Zac Donley, 2018-2019 K-State Proud Co-Chair

PFA Intern Sadie Polson met with Zac Donley to talk about the nationally recognized, student-led, fundraising campaign K-State Proud. Donley is a senior from Wichita, KS studying Life Sciences with a minor in Leadership Studies, and is serving as a K-State Proud Co-Chair for the 2018-2019 term.

PFA Intern: Zac, thank you so much for sitting down with me today. The K-State Proud student campaign is a relatively young, yet highly valued K-State tradition.    Tell K-State parents and families about K-State Proud and what makes it so special.

Zac: K-State Proud is the largest student-led philanthropy on campus. The mission “Students Helping Students” invites K-State students to  support their peers with whom they attend classes everyday. For a minimum donation of $20, K-State students receive a highly coveted K-State Proud t-shirt which is student-designed every year. Donations to the campaign support Student Opportunity Awards for current students who are facing a temporary financial crisis. Without the help of K-State Proud, these students would likely have to drop out of K-State, decreasing the likelihood of graduation. K-State Proud is unique in that students are providing support for their peers. The culture of Family at K-State is seen first-hand when a student wears their K-State Proud t-shirt. It’s so cool to walk through campus and see students, faculty, and staff dressed in a K-State Proud t-shirt. We look out for each other and I’m so lucky to attend a University where supporting each other is number one on our values list.

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Young Alumni Spotlight: Pierce Stephens ’15

May 2015 Graduate Pierce Stephens from Manhattan, Kansas.

The K-State PFA recently caught up with Pierce Stephens, 2015 graduate of Kansas State University, to discuss opportunities at K-State that helped him be successful in his career. Pierce, a Manhattan native, received a Bachelor’s in Business Administration, majoring in Business Management and Management Information Systems. While in college, Pierce was involved in Student Foundation, K-State Proud, Mortar Board Senior Honorary, K-State Sales Team, New Student Services, Delta Sigma Phi Fraternity, and Pi Sigma Epsilon Marketing Club. He now works for Phillips 66 and resides in Bartlesville, Oklahoma.

Describe your transition from college to career. What were some of the major adjustments?

My transition from college to career was a lot quicker than anticipated. I started my full-time role with the Phillips 66 IT new hire program just two weeks after graduation. The new hire program lasted two months where my new hire class learned all about the company, oil and gas industry, and information technology.  Upon completion of the program we were placed in our first “big kid” jobs, which was definitely an adjustment. The first big adjustment was learning how to best budget my time transitioning from college to a full time work schedule. Another adjustment was understanding the importance of work-life balance, which goes hand in hand with prioritizing and budgeting my time.

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Celebrating 90 Years of Family Day

K-State is often described as a family.  While the definition of family may vary widely, we are consistent in our efforts to recognize and celebrate the critical role families play in student success.

This fall, the University will celebrate 90 years of K-State Family Day on Saturday, September 15, 2018.  There will be traditional programming like K-State Family Tailgate, Legacy Pinning Ceremony & Brunch, K-State Football and Soccer, the Latin Jazz Band, and so much more.  You can find a complete schedule of activities here.

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