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Sources: John English, 785-532-5590, jenglish@kstate.edu;
Kelly Sartorius, 785-532-7500, klevi@k-state.edu

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

BNSF FOUNDATION MAKES $230,000 GIFT TO K-STATE

Note to news directors and editors: Friday, April 30 - Photo and video opportunities available beginning at 7:50 a.m. with sessions on science, including wind power and other engineering topics. Program runs several times through 1:25 p.m. A check presentation is at 10:45 a.m. For complete schedule, please see http://www.k-state.edu/media/newsreleases/apr10/eventschedule42810.pdf. Location: J.C. Harmon High School, 2400 Steele Road, Kansas City, Kan.

MANHATTAN -- The BNSF Foundation, Fort Worth, Texas, has made a gift of $230,000 to establish an outreach partnership with the College of Engineering at Kansas State University.

The partnership between K-State's Women in Engineering and Science Program -- WESP -- and the BNSF Foundation will fund events designed to encourage diverse populations of young people to pursue careers in engineering and science.

The partnership will be celebrated Friday, April 30, during a WESP event at J.C. Harmon High School, 2400 Steele Road, Kansas City, Kan. The event will include numerous activities conducted by K-State engineering students, as well as a check presentation from the BNSF Foundation. John Williams, general manager of BNSF Railway's Kansas Division will present the check to John English, dean of the College of Engineering and Kimberly Douglas-Mankin, director of WESP. The check presentation is scheduled for 10:45 a.m.

"We are very excited about our upcoming event at J.C. Harmon High School," Douglas-Mankin said. "This is a great opportunity to help Harmon students understand the contributions BNSF's scientists and engineers make to creating a better world, and to illustrate BNSF's commitment to their education. K-State engineering students will be working with around 200 students from Harmon High in hands-on experiences designed to illustrate careers at BNSF."

"The BNSF Foundation has a long history of supporting organizations and projects in higher education and youth development in the communities we serve," Williams said. "This K-State program is dedicated to attracting a more diverse population to the fields of engineering and science. We recognize the future of the economy and of the communities we serve will depend on that and we are grateful for the opportunity to support a program that will help make that future possible."

"The College of Engineering is very grateful to the BNSF Foundation," English said. "This generous partnership will make it possible for WESP to reach out to hundreds of young people to illustrate the possibilities and rewards in science and engineering careers. We know that many of these young people will pursue those careers through higher education. That is an outcome that benefits all of society."

K-State's Women in Engineering and Science Program was recently recognized as the nation's outstanding women in engineering program. The award, from the Women in Engineering Pro-Active Network, was presented earlier this month at the network's joint conference with the National Association of Multicultural Engineering Program Advocates in Baltimore, Md.

The award is presented annually to one outstanding women in engineering program that serves as a model for other institutions. The Women in Engineering and Science Program is a collaborative effort between K-State's Colleges of Engineering and Arts and Sciences, according to Douglas-Mankin.

"WESP designs and implements programs that make K-State a better place for women to pursue their interests in science and engineering," Douglas-Mankin said. "Programming is structured around three purposes: promoting awareness, building community and providing support. While programming is designed to benefit female students in engineering and science, many of the programs offered by the WESP office serve all students. The reality is that the things that make K-State better for women scientists and engineers also make K-State better for everyone."

Douglas-Mankin said the Women in Science and Engineering Program creates a wide range of opportunities for students to connect with program participants and others who are passionate about engineering and science.

"It's a pipeline of ways to be involved from grade school through graduate school and beyond," she said. "Individuals can be engaged in ways that are tailored to their needs. Some are involved in many different ways, and others are involved in individual programs. The important thing is that they have opportunities to build relationships and reinforce their excitement for engineering and science."

The BNSF Foundation's mission is to support and improve the general welfare and quality of life in communities served by BNSF Railway and has been a main vehicle for charitable giving from, and before, the 1996 merger of the Burlington Northern and the Santa Fe railroads to form The Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway Company, now known as BNSF Railway Company. The BNSF Foundation is a Texas non-profit corporation located in Fort Worth.

About BNSF Railway
BNSF Railway is one of North America's leading freight rail transportation companies operating on 32,000 route miles of track in 28 states and two Canadian provinces. BNSF is one of the top transporters of consumer goods, grain, industrial goods and low-sulfur coal that help feed, clothe, shelter and power American homes and businesses every day. BNSF and its employees have developed one of the most technologically advanced, and efficient railroads in the industry. And we are working continuously to improve the value of our service, energy, environmental, and safety benefits to our customers and the communities we serve.