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Faculty, grad students earn Presidential Awards

By The Mercury

Five Kansas State University faculty members and one graduate student are receiving 2014 Presidential Awards for their compassion, dedication and creativity as educators, advisers and administrators.

Receiving the Presidential Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching are: Jason Bergtold, associate professor of agricultural economics; Barry Bradford, associate professor of animal sciences and industry; Kevin Wanklyn, instructor of mechanical and nuclear engineering; and Zheng Hao, doctoral student in mathematics.

Stephanie Rolley, professor and head of the landscape architecture/regional & community planning department, will receive the Presidential Award for Outstanding Department Head. Cathie Lavis, associate professor and extension landscape management specialist in the horticulture, forestry and recreation resources department, will receive the Presidential Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Advising.

The awards include a $2,500 honorarium and plaque sponsored by the president’s office and Curtin Property Co., a real estate development firm with offices in Manhattan and Kansas City.

“I appreciate the continued support of Chris Curtin and Curtin Property Co. to reward these talented individuals for their hard work and dedication,” said Kirk Schulz, university president. “The passion these educators and advisers exhibit for helping students succeed both at K-State and beyond is advancing K-State’s goal of becoming a Top 50 public research university by 2025.”

“The Curtin Property Co. and its Manhattan associates at Georgetown Apartment Homes and Westchester Park Apartments are pleased to join with the K-State president’s office in recognizing and rewarding these highly talented educators,” said Chris Curtin, company president. “Their commitment to their students’ success, to professional excellence and to K-State is inspirational to all of us.”

THE Presidential Awards for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching recognize compassion, dedication and creativity as teachers, advisers or administrators.

Bergtold enjoys helping students become engaged in learning, develop the tools for critically analyzing problems and apply those tools to situations they encounter in agriculture and business. He teaches several classes, including Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness, Data Analysis and Optimization, and Quantitative Topics in Agricultural Economics. In 2013, he was the recipient of Gamma Sigma Delta’s Outstanding Teaching Award. Bergtold’s research examines the impact and policy implications of conservation, bioenergy feedstock production and climate change on agricultural crop production and land use. He has published articles in the American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Journal of Agricultural and Applied Economics, Bioenergy Research and the Journal of Choice Modeling. He received a bachelor’s degree in economics from Colorado State University and a master’s degree in agricultural and applied economics and doctorate in economics from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

Bradford enjoys connecting with students and impacting their career choices. As the instructor of Fundamentals of Nutrition, Physiology of Lactation, Dairy Cattle Nutrition and one graduate class, he looks forward to the moments when he sees a concept click with students. He researches the metabolic physiology of dairy cattle. With dairy products accounting for 17 percent of the typical American consumer’s protein consumption, dairy cattle management and feeding has a big impact on the sustainability of dairy production. His research has been featured in National Geographic and The Western Producer. He recently received a 2014-2015 Fulbright Senior Scholar Award to Australia. Bradford has bachelor’s degrees in animal science and agricultural biochemistry from Iowa State University and a doctorate in ruminant nutrition from Michigan State University.


WANKLYN enjoys making difficult subjects interesting and thought provoking for students while motivating them to use their knowledge to solve problems that are not yet known. He teaches Thermodynamics 1, Heat Transfer, Thermodynamics of Modern Power Cycles, Indoor Environmental Engineering, Fluid Mechanics, Senior Design 1 and 2, Measurements and Instrumentations Lab and the Thermal Engineering distance education course. His past awards and honors include the James L. Hollis Memorial Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, Mortar Board Engineering Faculty Recognition, Mechanical Engineering Outstanding Teaching Assistant and the university’s Women in Engineering Program’s Making a Difference Award. Wanklyn received a bachelor’s degree with honors, master’s degree and a doctorate, all in mechanical engineering, from Kansas State University.

Hao is this year’s recipient of the Presidential Award in Undergraduate Teaching by a graduate teaching assistant. Being a mathematician has been his dream job since he was a child and teaching - College Algebra, Calculus 1 and 3, Plane Trigonometry, and Differential Equations - is his way of spreading his passion for the subject with undergraduate students. He enjoys helping students achieve success in their courses and use their knowledge in their careers. He received the Hostinsky Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant Academic Award in 2013. He earned his bachelor’s degrees in statistics and economics from Peking University in China and a master’s degree in mathematics from Kansas State University in 2011.


THE Presidential Award for Outstanding Department Head is awarded each year to a department head who is proactive, positive, fair and equitable. It also honors a leader who cooperates with units across the university.

Rolley, a fellow of the American Society of Landscape Architects, brings her expertise in visualizing possibilities, whether in community designs, scholarship or organizational change, to her work as a faculty member and head of the landscape architecture/regional & community planning department in Kansas State University’s College of Architecture, Planning & Design. Rolley works across scales and boundaries seeking new opportunities to make connections between people and ideas that can shape places and thinking. Her leadership includes a longstanding engagement in and reflection upon interdisciplinary community-based collaborations, as well as the first nonbaccalaureate landscape architecture and regional and community planning programs in the country. She has a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture from Kansas State University, a master’s degree in city planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and she completed the management development program at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

The Presidential Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Advising showcases an adviser who is dedicated to providing quality advising to undergraduates.


AS AN adviser, Lavis has influenced students’ academic and professional lives by listening, being honest and speaking from the heart. She teaches Water Issues in the Lawn and Landscape, Landscape Maintenance, Landscape Irrigation Systems, the Business of Landscape Contracting, Landscape Irrigation Design and Arboriculture. Her numerous awards and honors include the 2013 American Horticultural Society’s Great American Gardener Teaching Award, 2013 Outstanding Educator Award from the Irrigation Foundation, and the Outstanding Adviser Award from the College of Agriculture and the Delta Eta chapter of Gamma Sigma. She has a bachelor’s degree in agronomy from Oklahoma State University and a master’s degree in ornamental horticulture and a doctorate in agronomy from Kansas State University.

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