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Source: Cara Richardson, 785-532-3360,
News release prepared by: Beth Bohn, 785-532-6415,

Thursday, April 30, 2009


MANHATTAN -- Kansas State University's College of Human Ecology is recognizing 17 of its graduating seniors with Outstanding Senior Awards.

The award recipients are selected from each academic area the college offers. The selections are made by faculty and are based on the students' academic achievements, leadership, participation in service on campus and in the community, and their professional potential.

Outstanding seniors from the College of Human Ecology, who all will graduate in May, include:

* Dustin Furrey, personal financial planning, Great Bend. Furrey, who has been selected as the college's student commencement speaker, has been president and treasurer of K-State's Future Financial Planners; communications co-chair for Invest-A-Cats; and served on the K-State Student Financial Planning and Counseling Center. He also spearheaded the K-State Student Saves project in 2008. Furrey is a member of the Financial Planning Association, Phi Kappa Phi national honor society and served on the College of Human Ecology Council. He is currently serving an internship at Keating and Associates Inc. in Manhattan and will work at the firm following his graduation. His many honors include the Horatio Alger Military Scholarship and the Kansas Army National Guard's Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year award. He is the son of Bonnie Furrey and a graduate of Larned High School.

* Megan Finnesy, interior design, Halstead. Finnesy has assisted in K-State's interior design studies and has helped organize the department's annual Interior Design Symposium for two years. She currently serves as president of K-State's chapter of the International Interior Design Association, where she was the primary organizer of a student-led field trip to Chicago during spring break 2009. She has been a student member of the American Society of Interior Design and has been the recipient of the Leslie E. and Stella M. Ellithorpe Scholarship. Following her graduation, she will attend graduate school at the University of Kansas. Finnesy is the daughter of Dan and Cindy Finnesy.

* Kendra VanDonge, hotel and restaurant management, Havensville. VanDonge's many honors include being a magna cum laude National Scholars Honor Society invitation recipient; a member of K-State's Hospitality Management Society, Golden Key national honor society, and Kappa Omicron Nu, the national human ecology honor society; and vice president of Eta Sigma Delta, the international hospitality honor society. She served as co-coordinator of the College of Human Ecology's 2009 Travel and Dining Auction and was project leader for the college's White Tent events. She is the daughter of Danny and Shirley VanDonge.

* Jamie Bauerle, family and consumer sciences, Hiawatha. A K-State honors list student, she is a member of Phi Kappa Phi and Golden Key national honor societies. She also is a member of Kappa Omicron Nu, the human ecology honor society, where she has served as president of the K-State chapter and on the society's national board of directors. She has been involved with K-State's Healthy Decisions group and Wildcats Against Rape. She has served on the K-State Teacher Education Advisory Council and was selected for the 2008 National Leadership Honors Boot Camp Training in Washington, D.C. Bauerle is a recipient of a 2008 K-State Extraordinary Student Award. She also has been active with 4-H, Big Brothers Big Sisters and Relay for Life. She is the daughter of Carol Strahm.

* Anessa Burgess, early childhood education, Lyons. Burgess has worked in several different teaching environments to gain experience in her field, including an after-school program offered by USD 383, as a teaching assistant at K-State's Hoeflin Stone House infant/toddler classroom, and working as a nanny and as a child care provider for a Manhattan day care. The recipient of the Lynn and Hazel Russell Memorial Scholarship and the Ivalee Long Scholarship, Burgess plans to work in an early childhood classroom in the fall and one day obtain her master's in special education. She is the daughter of Richard and Debra Burgess.

* Michelle Higgins, nutritional sciences and biochemistry, Manhattan. Higgins is a Goldwater Scholar, the recipient of a Cancer Research Award from K-State's Terry C. Johnson Center for Basic Cancer Research, and the Gamma Sigma Delta Honor Society Award. A K-State honors list student, she also is a member of Phi Kappa Phi national honor society and has received a Phi Kappa Phi Scholarship and a Kansas State University Foundation Scholarship. Higgins is a member of Alpha Chi Sigma, the professional chemistry fraternity. In summer 2007 she received a Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship at the University of Kansas Medical Center. She also has conducted undergraduate research in pharmacology at the K-State College of Veterinary Medicine. A member of K-State's women's rowing team, she has received a national scholarship from the Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association. Her future plans include going to graduate school to study pharmacology and prepare for a career in drug discovery and development. Higgins is the daughter of Mary Meck Higgins.

* Cassandra Whitmore, public health nutrition and dietetics, Manhattan. A K-State honors list student, Whitmore is a member of Phi Eta Sigma national honor society and the Human Ecology Honors Program, and she has received the Lewis L. Boyden Memorial Scholarship and the Horatio Alger Scholarship. She is a student member of the American Dietetic Association and the American Public Health Association, and a member of K-State's Student Dietetic Association and the Nebraska Dietetics Association's Public Policy Partners. After graduating from K-State, Whitmore plans to pursue a dietetic internship. Her career goal is to work in community nutrition, with a special interest in helping those in poverty. She is the daughter of Dennis and Nadine Beethe, Tecumseh, Neb.

* Jennifer Gardner, dietetics, Newton. Gardner has prepared for a career in dietetics by serving a variety of internships, including at St. Luke's Hospital in Kansas City, Mo., where she updated all of the inpatient and outpatient teaching materials used by the hospital's nutrition services department; with the Liberty School District in Liberty, Mo., where she assisted with the development of a Breakfast in the Classroom pilot project; and with the American Diabetes Association in Kansas City, Mo. She is a member of the K-State Student Dietetic Association, American Dietetic Association, K-State's Sensible Nutrition and Body Image Choices group and Alpha of Clovia scholarship house. Gardner is the daughter of David and Nancy Gardner.

* Amber Ziegler, family life and community services, Oakley. A K-State honors list student, Ziegler also is a Bible and family ministry major at Manhattan Christian College. She is a member of the K-State Honors Program, and Phi Kappa Phi honor society. She also has received several scholarships, including the K-State Leadership Scholarship and Dorothy Phelps Scholarship. She is active with Helping International Students, where she served an internship this spring. She also served an internship in Tanzania through CMF International. After graduating from K-State and Manhattan Christian College in May, Ziegler will serve an internship with Hill City Christian Church, working with youth. Starting in July 2010, she will be teaching English at the university level in Asia for three years and will work on her master's degree. Ziegler is the daughter of Ken and Linda Ziegler.

* Trini Najera, family studies and human service, Satanta. Najera has been active in several organizations at K-State, including the Union Program Council's Multicultural Committee, where she was co-chair for two years; the Multicultural Student Honor Society; Hispanic Leadership Organization; and Kappa Delta sorority. She served as a summer 2008 event intern with the American Cancer Society in Manhattan and Topeka, where she helped coordinate logistics for the Riley County Relay for Life. She also has been involved with the K-State Relay for Life, including serving as a co-chair and team captain. She has received a K-State Leadership Scholarship and Hispanic Youth Leadership Scholarship. She plans to pursue a career with the American Cancer Society and to open her own photography company. Najera is the daughter of Mario and Norma Najera.

* Jason Bahnson, hospitality management, Shawnee. Bahnson is a member of Eta Sigma Delta, the hospitality honor society. He also has served as president of K-State's student chapter of the Club Managers Association of America. He is a 2008 Culinary Scholar. Bahnson has served as a management intern at The Club at Cordillera in Vail, Colo., and as a frontline intern at the Cherokee Town and Country Club in Atlanta, Ga. His leadership activities at K-State include serving as a community assistant for the Strong Complex and a member of the Putnam Residence Hall Governing Board. In addition, he was a member of the K-State Marching Band's drum line. Bahnson is the son of Jeffrey and Julie Bahnson.

* Katie Hamm, dietetics, Shawnee. Hamm, a K-State honors list student, has been active in leadership at K-State, serving as president of the Student Dietetic Association; a member of Blue Key, the senior honor society, serving as co-coordinator of its Catalyst Self-Development Experience; assistant director of Up 'til Dawn; and professional development chair of the K-State Student Foundation. She also has been involved with the American Dietetic Association, serving on its Student Council Advisory Committee. She is a member of the Human Ecology Honors Program, and received Gamma Sigma Delta's honors award in 2008 and 2009, and Mortar Board's 2007-2008 Outstanding Junior Award. She is the co-founder and chief executive officer of All Access Internships LLC, a Web site to help dietetics students around the country find internships. She has been a marketing intern with a Chicago public relations firm and a sports nutrition intern with a registered dietitian in Overland Park. After graduating from K-State, Hamm plans to serve a dietetic internship. She is the daughter of Tim and Lori Hamm.

* Brendon Powers, athletic training, Spearville. Powers has served as senior board member for K-State's Student Athletic Trainers Association, where he organized a mentors program that pairs first- and second-year students in athletic training with juniors and seniors. He also served a summer internship in 2008 with the San Diego Chargers, where he was active in rehabilitation programs for team members. He has been an athletic training student with K-State's volleyball, baseball and football programs. After graduating from K-State, he will work on a graduate degree at Texas Tech University and serve as a graduate assistant athletic trainer with the university's athletic department. Powers is the son of Steve and Merrill Powers.

* Shelby Griffin, general human ecology, Sublette. Griffin has been involved with several K-State organizations. She is a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority, Cats for Cans, and helped with the K-State Telefund. She also has been active with Navigators and the Kansas 4-H Program. As a member of the K-State Peace and Conflict Class, she traveled to Ireland to learn about conflict resolution, representing K-State at the University of Ulster. After graduating, Griffin will seek a master's degree in regional and community planning from K-State. She is the daughter of Mac and Kitty Griffin.

* Janna Sorenson, communication sciences and disorders, Sylvan Grove. Sorenson is president of the K-State Student Speech Language Hearing Association, social chair of the National Society for Collegiate Scholars and a member of Kappa Omicron Nu, the human ecology honor society. She also served as president of Silver Key, the sophomore honor society, and was a member of Chimes, the junior honorary. A member of the Human Ecology Honors Program, her research project focused on providing agricultural workers a resource, via the Internet, to educate them about hearing conservation and noise-induced hearing loss. After graduating from K-State, Sorenson plans to earn a doctorate in audiology from the University of Kansas Medical Center. She is the daughter of Gary and Ruth Sorenson.

* Kacey Provenzano, nutritional sciences, Wichita. Provenzano used the loss of a family member to cancer and her Susan G. Komen Scholarship to start "Fruit for Fight," a campus group for those who have personally affected by a disease, are at risk because of family history or have an interest in becoming a health professional or educator. Her other activities have included serving as Family Day coordinator for Chimes, the junior honorary; insurance representative on the Student Health Advisory Committee; and as a Relay for Life team captain. She has received a K-State Undergraduate Cancer Research Award and conducted research with K-State's Weiqun "George" Wang, associate professor of human nutrition, on the anti-cancer effects of anthocyanin. The research was for her honors program project. Following her graduation from K-State, Provenzano will attend the University of Kansas Medical School to become a doctor. She is the daughter of Frank and Kimberley Provenzano.

* Nicole Delimont, public health nutrition, North Bend, Ore. Delimont has been active in undergraduate research at K-State. She is a recipient of a National Science Foundation grant for undergraduate research; a Cancer Research Award from the Terry C. Johnson Center for Basic Cancer Research at K-State, and a Gamma Sigma Delta Academic Excellence Award. She is a research assistant with the Kansas Lipidomics Research Center at K-State and with K-State's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program research team. She is a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority and Kappa Omicron Nu, the human ecology honor society. After graduating from K-State, Delimont will attend nursing school at Vanderbilt University to become a family nurse practitioner. She is the daughter of William and Janeice Delimont.