Kansas State Polytechnic announces student ambassadors for 2017-2018 academic year

By Julee Cobb and Kris Grinter

Five new student ambassadors have been chosen to represent Kansas State Polytechnic for the 2017-2018 academic year. Back row, from left: Juan Diaz, Logan Renz and Colton Linenberger; and front row, from left: JT Brantley and Clayton Bettenbrock.

The Kansas State University Polytechnic Campus has selected five new Wildcats to serve as student ambassadors.

One sophomore, one junior and three seniors will represent Kansas State Polytechnic in the coveted leadership positions during the 2017-2018 academic year. Ambassadors attend a variety of on-campus, community-based and industry events to give their personal perspective on the student experience as well as promote campus offerings and purple pride. Undergraduates named as student ambassadors are JT Brantley, senior in mechanical engineering technology, Abilene; Clayton Bettenbrock, sophomore in mechanical engineering technology, Geneseo; Logan Renz, junior in UAS flight and operations, Hays; Juan Diaz, senior in professional pilot, Salina; and Colton Linenberger, senior in computer systems technology, Washington.

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Unmanned aircraft systems student lands summer internship at NASA

By Julee Cobb

Kendy Edmonds, senior in UAS flight and operations and UAS design and integration, Valley Falls, has been selected for a summer internship at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.

Kendy Edmonds, a senior at Kansas State University’s Polytechnic Campus, is spending the summer advancing unmanned aircraft systems technology at the nation’s best-known entity for space exploration.

Edmonds, Valley Falls, who is double majoring in unmanned aircraft systems, or UAS, flight and operations and UAS design and integration, has been selected for an internship with NASA where she is focusing on data management of small UAS. Based at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, which is NASA’s first space flight complex established in 1959, Edmonds hopes to gain insight and experience in creating a streamlined process for collecting, storing and managing UAS data, including best practices in organizing and labeling the digital information as well as how long it should be saved and what can be deleted.

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A round of applause: Kansas State Polytechnic celebrates student achievements in annual end-of-the-year awards banquet

By Julee Cobb

The motto on the Kansas State University Polytechnic Campus is, “the experience matters,” and for many Wildcats, these are words they have taken to heart.

Along with performing the typical duties of an undergrad – engaging in classroom discussion, attending study sessions and turning in homework on time – students at Kansas State Polytechnic are making vital contributions to their major, clubs and organizations, fellow students and the overall morale of the campus by enthusiastically and selflessly going beyond what is asked of them. Some students spend several extra hours a week in a learning laboratory just because they have a genuine desire to know more. Others take on the responsibility of being a voice for their peers and join student government. And for a few, it may be random acts of kindness that fulfill their time on campus.

Whatever the case may be, Kansas State Polytechnic highlights those students who make the most of their experience during the annual Awards and Recognition Banquet. Celebrating its 31st year, the dinner and awards show, held April 20, brought together students, faculty and staff to honor personal and educational accomplishments from the 2016-2017 school year.

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Kansas State Polytechnic UAS student competes in first-ever collegiate drone racing competition

By Julee Cobb

Michael Wilson, a junior in the UAS flight and operations degree option, competed in the nation’s first collegiate drone racing competition.

The list for unmanned aircraft applications continues to grow – the technology is now being utilized as a racing sport and a student from the Kansas State University Polytechnic Campus has participated in the first-ever collegiate competition.

Michael Wilson, a junior in the unmanned aircraft systems, or UAS, flight and operations degree option, Iola, Kansas, was the only student from the state of Kansas to be selected for the inaugural Collegiate Drone Racing National Championship held April 15 at Purdue University. Representing Kansas State Polytechnic, he joined nearly 50 other pilots from schools across the country using UAS to battle it out on a complex obstacle course. The national competition was hosted by Purdue University’s student drone club, who wanted to create an event that promotes UAS education, and featured more than $15,000 worth of equipment and prizes for the winner.

Wilson says each participant was required to build the unmanned aircraft that was being raced. In each of the heats, the pilots flew around the course using first person view – cameras mounted on the aircraft to see where they were going – attempting to score as many laps as possible in two minutes. The top 16 pilots with the most laps moved on to the finals, which a student from Georgia Tech eventually won.

Wilson competing at the first-ever Collegiate Drone Racing National Championship.

Though Wilson didn’t bring home the national championship title, one of his professors, Christopher Senn, says he is “hands-down one of the best UAS flight instructors at Kansas State Polytechnic.” Students can act as a flight instructor for other UAS students once receiving a certain rating.

“Michael holds an extensive amount of knowledge in unmanned aircraft systems and is one of my top students,” said Senn. “Every chance he gets, he is outside flying his aircraft, and as a flight instructor, he has successfully taught a number of other students how to proficiently operate multirotor unmanned aircraft in a safe manner.”

After graduation next year, Wilson plans to work either as a UAS test pilot for various industries or as a UAS pilot performing inspections.

To learn more about Kansas State Polytechnic’s UAS academic degree options, contact the option coordinator, Michael Most at 785-826-2681 or mtmost@ksu.edu. For professional UAS training offerings contact the campus’s professional education and outreach office at 785-826-2633 or profed@k-state.edu. To inquire about UAS opportunities with the campus’s Applied Aviation Research Center, contact Kurt Carraway, UAS executive director of the center, at 785-826-7170 or kcarraway@k-state.edu.

Kansas State Polytechnic elects new student body president, vice president

By Julee Cobb

Christian Coker, left, a sophomore in professional pilot from Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Nicholas Ramirez, a freshman in professional pilot from Wichita, were elected as the 2017-2018 student body vice president and president of Kansas State University's Polytechnic Campus.

Christian Coker, left, a sophomore in professional pilot from Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Nicholas Ramirez, a freshman in professional pilot from Wichita, were elected as the 2017-2018 student body vice president and president of Kansas State University’s Polytechnic Campus.

The student body of Kansas State University’s Polytechnic Campus has elected its new undergraduate leadership.

Nicholas Ramirez, freshman in professional pilot, Wichita, has been chosen as student body president of Kansas State Polytechnic. Christian Coker, sophomore in professional pilot, Tulsa, Oklahoma, will serve as student body vice president. When the two take office in the Student Governing Association, or SGA, on Tuesday, March 28, they will begin implementing their platform of advocating for students’ needs and increasing student involvement on campus.

“I believe students on this campus deserve to have a SGA that really cares about them, their challenges and their ideas. It is important to Christian and me that students feel like their voices matter and that we’re here to represent them,” Ramirez said. “Despite having a little bit of a learning curve, I am honored and humbled that my fellow students have faith in me to lead their student government.”

“We just want to encourage students to make the most of their four years in college, which Nicholas and I believe includes engagement outside of the classroom,” said Coker. “Whether it’s a club, activity, campus job or even SGA, students will make connections and build friendships when they are actively involved, which will result in a better college experience and better campus environment.”

Ramirez, who graduated from Andover High School, got started in SGA last semester when he acted as a senator for the aviation program. Though initially he didn’t have any intention of running for president when the elections were first announced, he received an outpouring of support that swayed his decision.

“I was hesitant to run in the beginning, but was given tremendous encouragement from my professors, advisor and other senators. I also was inspired by the hard work and leadership of the current president and vice president,” Ramirez said. “After a lot of consideration and prayer, I decided to take a leap of faith in the hope I could demonstrate my passion for the campus and bring about the change students desire.”

In addition, Ramirez is a peer tutor for the residence halls, was a member of the Women in Aviation student club in fall 2016 and is on the Honor Council. He decided to pursue a degree in aviation because his father is a pilot for American Airlines and he has always loved flying. After graduating, Ramirez’s ultimate career goal is to sit beside his father in the cockpit of an airplane as his first officer.

Coker, a graduate of Broken Arrow High School, was also an aviation senator in SGA last semester and teamed up with Ramirez on the ballot after his running mate dropped out. He works at the front desk of his residence hall and would hear students bring up valid ideas and issues that he decided he wanted to represent. Along with student government, Coker was previously a member of K-State’s ROTC program and hopes to start a running club on campus. After graduation, he wants to shift his career focus to corporate aviation while continuing to fly as a hobby.

Senator positions in arts, sciences and business, aviation, engineering technology and social work/family studies and human services also were selected during the 2017-2018 election.

Kansas State Polytechnic to highlight programs, campus clubs and student accomplishments at Open House on April 1

OpenHouseBannerFrom flight demonstrations and fleet tours to computer coding activities and 3D-printing fun, the Kansas State University Polytechnic Campus will be showcasing all of its program offerings and technologies during annual Open House on April 1.

From 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Kansas State Polytechnic will open its campus to the community and beyond to give visitors an inside look at academics, the facilities and student projects, clubs and achievements. Just like the campus’ “polytechnic” way of teaching and learning, many of the booths will be hands-on, encouraging attendees to participate in various activities and games. There also will be snacks, giveaways and an appearance by Willie the Wildcat. Below are examples of what guests can expect to experience at Open House:

  • Flight Team Pancake Breakfast – Start your Open House experience off right with a pancake feed from 7 to 10 a.m. courtesy of the Kansas State Polytechnic Flight Team. The meal is by donation only and there will be a drawing for two K-State football tickets with reserved parking.
  • Aviation Expo – See the aviation program’s fleet up close during a tour of the more than 30 aircraft.
  • Computer Systems Handson Experience – Check out the computer systems technology program during a basic coding activity and take photos in front of the green screen.
  • UAS Simulation and Flight – Experience a demonstration of industry-quality UAS software from our nationally recognized faculty and watch as an unmanned aircraft takes flight.
  • Build it. Print it. – Tour through our mechanical engineering technology lab and see firsthand the wonders of 3D printing.

Additionally, Open House is an opportunity for prospective students and their parents interested in enrollment to learn more about life on campus. Those curious about becoming a Wildcat can sign up for the VIP experience and receive a campus tour, attend an alumni panel and lunch, and gain insight into financial aid and scholarships. Registration is free and can be found HERE. General questions about attending Kansas State Polytechnic can be directed to the office of admissions at 785-826-2640 or polytechnic@k-state.edu.

For a listing of all of the events happening at this year’s Open House, click HERE.


Kansas State Polytechnic celebrates students’ achievements, campus contributions in 30th annual end-of-the-year awards banquet

By Julee Cobb

Four Kansas State Polytechnic students were awarded the prestigious Wildcat Pride awards at the annual end-of-the-year banquet.

Four Kansas State Polytechnic students are the recipients of the prestigious Wildcat Pride awards given out at the campus’s annual Awards and Recognition Banquet. Pictured, from top left clockwise: Zackary Dahl, Wildcat Pride award for community; Abbas Tayi, Wildcat Pride award for determination; Austin Bally, Wildcat Pride award for dedication; and Joél Mills, Wildcat Pride award for most inspirational.


What goes into a college campus running successfully? Though financial contributions might be the first presumption, the majority of a school’s ability to prosper is through its people. At Kansas State Polytechnic, students spend countless hours studying and collaborating on class projects; however, they also engage in student clubs, volunteer at events, work campus jobs and help tutor other students. Likewise, faculty and staff members go beyond the call of duty to ensure the campus runs smoothly and the students have a valuable experience.

Kansas State Polytechnic highlights that energy, effort and loyalty during its annual Awards and Recognition Banquet. Celebrating its 30th year, the banquet, held on April 21, brought together more than 150 students, faculty and staff to be honored for their accomplishments throughout the 2015-2016 school year.

“Each person at K-State Polytechnic touches the campus in a unique way,” said Amy Sellers, student life coordinator and organizer of the event. “This banquet gives the campus an opportunity to shine a light on the magnificent work performed and the dedication that is given day in and day out. Most importantly, it is a night of pride for the amazing students, staff and faculty that keep K-State Polytechnic buzzing with new ideas, innovations and inspirations.”

Close to 30 different accolades were handed out in three categories: Outstanding Academic Student awards, Outstanding Campus awards and Wildcat Pride awards. Within each of those areas, students, faculty and staff were recognized for a variety of reasons, including their program of study or instruction, sportsmanship, involvement on campus, advising and student club performance. Award nominations were open to anyone on campus and then were voted on by an established committee.

One of the most anticipated moments of the night is when the Wildcat Pride awards were announced. These student-only honors contain appreciation in the areas of community service, determination, dedication and most inspirational.

Zackary Dahl, a graduating senior in airport management, Hoyt, Kansas, was announced as the winner of the Wildcat Pride award for community service. According to its nomination description, the award recognizes a student who understands the civic responsibility of serving the community. The student sees the bigger picture and is aware of the community’s needs. Dahl was selected because of his heart for service. He spends time weekly volunteering at the Smoky Valley Nursing Home’s Alzheimer’s unit and at the Marine Corps recruiting station in Salina. Additionally, Dahl has given of his time to Big Brother Big Sisters and the Salina Animal Shelter. According to the nominator, Dahl’s “unselfish acts have touched the lives of this community and those around him.”

Abbas Tayi, a senior in professional pilot, Baghdad, Iraq, was the recipient of the Wildcat Pride award for determination, which suggests its winner shows a quality of firmness in beliefs and actions, doesn’t quit until an answer or decision is reached and pursues life by focusing on achieving a goal with passion. Tayi was selected for his diligent work ethic and integrity, including working toward a goal of graduating early. According to the nominator, Tayi isn’t afraid of any obstacle in front of him and has a “never quit” mentality.

Joél Mills, a senior in technology management, Snellville, Georgia, received the honor of the Wildcat Pride award for most inspirational student. This award recognizes someone who inspires others to achieve the highest level at which they are capable, and epitomizes the qualities of determination, dedication and service. This student must also maintain a GPA of 2.5 or above. Mills was selected because of her influence on the campus through her character and involvement. Mills has been a part of Programming Board, is a member of Women in Aviation, and has worked in the Student Life Center and admissions office, regularly giving tours to children in the StarBase program. According to the nominator, Mills is a loyal Wildcat and her blood runs purple. She is not only inspiring as a student, but also simply as the person she is.

Austin Bally, a senior in professional pilot, Wichita, Kansas, was the recipient of the Wildcat Pride Award for dedication, which states its winner goes above and beyond normal duties and is committed to a particular course of thought or action. Bally was selected because his initiative and leadership has helped launch a new summer aviation program for high school students. He also is committed to assisting his fellow undergraduate professional pilot students through involvement in the flight team. According to the nominator, Bally has gone above and beyond to make certain campus programs run smoothly, and his energy and enthusiasm contribute to the campus’s success.

Below is a list of other winners from K-State Polytechnic’s 30th annual Awards and Recognition Banquet:

Outstanding Academic Student Awards

Outstanding Student Life Graduating Senior – Nick Koch

Phi Kappa Phi – Natasha Gawith

Expository Writing – Mary Ewers, Jacob Rose and Mehnaz Afrin

Unmanned Aircraft Systems – Trevor Witt

Aviation Maintenance – Rachael Luna

Airport Management – Garett Ludlum

Professional Pilot – Chris Messing

Family Studies and Human Services – Lien Hecker

Social Work – Rubi Torres

Personal Financial Planning – Sevda Tasci

Computer Systems Technology – Tyler Kongs

Chemistry – Colton Maxwell

Electronic and Computer Engineering Technology – John Baumfalk-Lee

Mechanical Engineering Technology – Jason Hager

Technology Management – Pamela Barrett


Outstanding Campus Awards

Student Employee – Trevor Witt

Larry Caldwell Sportsmanship Award – Cooper Potts

Club Advisor of the Year – Lindsey Dreiling

Academic Advisor/Faculty Mentor of the Year – Alyssha Munt and Jess Simpson

Staff Member of the Year – Kyle Chamberlin

Faculty Member of the Year – Charles Van Gundy

Student Organization of the Year – Social Work Wildcats

Polytechnic campus collects nearly 3,000 pounds of spaghetti for Salina community group

By Julee Cobb

Kansas State Polytechnic collected almost 3,000 pounds of spaghetti for Project Salina.

Kansas State Polytechnic collected almost 3,000 pounds of spaghetti for Project Salina.

Faculty, staff and students at Kansas State University Polytechnic Campus are hoping to make an impact on the local hunger problem after collecting almost 3,000 pounds of spaghetti for the Salina community.

Kansas State Polytechnic teamed up with Project Salina, an organization that gathers food for distribution to Salina residents who cannot afford to buy meals for themselves, and set a goal of accumulating 2,500 pounds of spaghetti. Within a four-week time period, members of the polytechnic campus not only answered the call for help, they donated in droves. At the end of the Project Salina campaign, faculty, staff members and students had given 2,950 pounds of noodles largely outweighing what was expected.

Les Kinsler, a professor in the computer systems technology program who retired in May, spearheaded the event and also previously has organized blood drives on campus. He enjoys leading philanthropy opportunities because it brings people together and brings about an awareness of meaningful issues.

“I think it is very important that the university and our campus be involved with local groups and organizations,” said Kinsler. “We live in a little social unit of students, faculty and staff, and it’s easy to loose track of the needs and happenings of the larger community.”

Project Salina was established in 1990 to assist various food agencies in the city with keeping their shelves full year round, not just during the holiday season. Entities, like Kansas State Polytechnic, that initiate a food drive are assigned one non-perishable item, such as spaghetti, and a contribution goal so that Project Salina can accurately plan their amount of stock. According to Feeding America, more than 8,000 residents in Saline County, where Salina is located, needed help putting food on the table in 2014.

Along with assisting Project Salina and the American Red Cross, Kansas State Polytechnic clubs and organizations require their student members to perform community service. Examples of their philanthropy include volunteering at local retirement communities, within various Salina events like Parade of Lights, and at the VFW, Lions Club and Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Open House on April 16 to feature food trucks, flight demos, robots and more

Kansas State University Polytechnic Campus is giving the community a unique look at its educational programs, student clubs and innovative technologies when it opens its doors April 16 for Open House.

From 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., visitors will be able to tour the polytechnic campus and experience a variety of games, activities and live demonstrations. Those interested in the aviation program can sit in the pilot‘s seat of a flight simulator and man the controls, or watch unmanned aircraft systems take to the sky in the newly built flight pavilion. Chemistry students will perform a magic show based on recent class projects; the mechanical engineering technology program will give robot demonstrations; and student club, the K-State Gamers Board, will hold a video game competition.

Willie the Wildcat also will be on hand for photo opportunities from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. K-State’s famous Call Hall ice cream will be served free of charge and three local food trucks will provide lunch for purchase.

Kansas State Polytechnic’s Open House is an opportunity for prospective students to learn more about the campus and its offerings as well. Guided tours will be provided throughout the morning and there will be a financial aid seminar giving insight into how to pay for college. Students and their parents can connect with K-State alumni and even enter drawings for a chance to win a scholarship, football tickets and gift cards.

For more information on Kansas State Polytechnic’s Open House and its events, contact Kirsten Zoller at 785-826-7182 or visit the Open House website HERE. If you are a future student interested in the Open House events focused on enrollment and financial aid, click HERE.

Three K-State Salina students represent university in all-female Air Race Classic

Air Race Classic Team

K-State Salina’s Air Race Classic team in front of the race aircraft. Front row: Alisha Kelso, team member. Back row, from left: Karen Morrison, pilot; and Summer Gajewski, copilot.

By Julee Cobb

It’s a race that rewards composure as much as it does velocity; it requires intuition along with learned skills; and the last place finisher could actually be the overall winner. It’s called the Air Race Classic – a competition for female aviators who journey across more than 2,200 miles, making nine stops in four days.

Putting all of their knowledge – education and instinct – to the test, three K-State Salina students took part in the race that began in Fredericksburg, Virginia on June 22 and finished in Fairhope, Alabama on June 25. Team pilot, Karen Morrison, senior in professional pilot and airport management; team copilot, Summer Gajewski, senior in professional pilot and technology management; and team member, Alisha Kelso, senior in professional pilot, faced a variety of challenges during the competition including flying in high-density traffic and low altitude flybys at unfamiliar airports. The women also had to make piloting decisions based on tail wind, weather and altitude scenarios.

Although the event was demanding and could have been seen as a rivalry, the K-State Salina participants say flying with all females was empowering and the race was the chance of a lifetime.

“As the 50 airplanes in the race took off from the start line, it was nice to hear all female voices on the radio,” said Kelso. “The scenery was beautiful, flying across the Appalachian Mountains, near Lake Michigan and to the Alabama coast. We experienced the friendliest hospitality and I was highly encouraged by all of the pilots we met along the way.”

The Air Race Classic consists of two or more female pilots who fly a single or twin-engine airplane with importance placed not on who crosses the finish line first, but rather on the pilots’ skills. The competition focuses on how the teams perform and adapt to flying conditions during each leg of the race. Teams can only compete in daytime hours and can only fly under Visual Flight Regulations.

“This event has given me the confidence I need to take long cross country trips and I look forward to racing again,” said Kelso.

This is the 39th year for the Air Race Classic.