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Sources: Justin Kastner, 785-532-4820,;
and Steve Toburen, 785-532-1720,
Note to editors: Sara Craven is a graduate of Shawnee Mission East High School, Prairie Village.
News release prepared by: Kristin Hodges, 785-532-6415,

Friday, May 15, 2009


MANHATTAN -- Kansas State University students will have a special opportunity to learn experientially about cross-border issues while on a field trip to the U.S.-Mexico border area.

A combination of 12 K-State undergraduate and graduate students will travel to destinations related to food safety, food defense and food security in Las Cruces, N.M., and El Paso, Texas, during a field trip from May 17-22. The trip is through the Frontier program, an interinstitutional program with K-State and New Mexico State University. The interdisciplinary program is for the historical studies of border security, food security and trade policy.

Justin Kastner, co-director of the Frontier program and assistant professor of diagnostic medicine and pathobiology at K-State, said the field trip is in collaboration with the Frontier faculty, staff and students at New Mexico State.

"As K-State is in center of the United States, it's helpful to us to work with New Mexico State University to learn what it's like in a cross-border environment," Kastner said.

The students will create podcasts during the trip about the learning experience.

The trip begins on the New Mexico State campus where the Frontier faculty and students from both universities will interact through research presentations and a student panel. The K-State students also will tour laboratories on the campus.

The trip will continue with a briefing by a special agent at the El Paso Intelligence Center, Fort Bliss, Texas, and a visit to the Santa Teresa Port of Entry and cattle crossing site, where live animals are inspected prior to importation into the U.S.

Jason Ackleson, co-director of the Frontier program and associate professor of government at New Mexico State, said the field trip will provide opportunities for students that they might not otherwise experience as private citizens, such as the briefing at the El Paso Intelligence Center and interactions with law enforcement.

"To really understand the border, you need to be at the border," Ackleson said. 

Steve Toburen, Frontier Interdisciplinary eXperiences, or FIX, program coordinator and Web developer for K-State's department of diagnostic medicine and pathobiology, said the experience is important for the students' future careers.

"This enhances their education when it's time to find a job," Toburen said. "They may be located in an area bordering Canada or Mexico. Or, if something food-safety related comes across the border, regardless of their geographic location, they will need knowledge and training to deal with that."

The Frontier program gets funding from the National Center for Food Protection and Defense and the National Center for Border Security and Immigration. Most of the K-State students going on the trip are Frontier program students, and the others are in the Veterinary Training Program for Rural Kansas, which is a loan-forgiveness program for accepted students who agree to practice veterinary medicine in rural Kansas counties with 35,000 people or under.

The following K-State students will attend the field trip:

Kathryn Krusemark, graduate student in food science, Atchison; Christopher Hansen, third-year student in veterinary medicine, Belleville; Adam Lukert, third-year student in veterinary medicine, Delia; Tiffany Lee, second-year student in veterinary medicine and graduate student in biomedical sciences, Leavenworth; Sara Craven, third-year student in veterinary medicine, and Edward Nyambok, graduate student in food science, both from Manhattan; Kelsey Rezac, sophomore in food science and industry, Onaga; Adam Tank, senior in microbiology and premedicine, Overland Park; Tarrie Crnic, graduate student in public health, Russell; Katherine Edwards, third-year student in veterinary medicine, St. George; Garrett Stewart, third-year student in veterinary medicine, Washington; and Haley Marceau, junior in anthropology and animal sciences and industry, Wichita.

Kastner, Toburen and Abbey Nutsch, assistant professor of animal sciences and industry at K-State and faculty member in the Frontier program, will attend the field trip. Ackleson and Cristina Dominguez, Frontier Interdisciplinary eXperiences, or FIX, program coordinator at New Mexico State, will lead her university's students on the trip.

More information about the Frontier program, including podcasts, is available at