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K-State Today

May 9, 2014



Jefferson fellow lecture series brings distinguished researchers to campus

By Jennifer Tidball

A new Kansas State University lecture series aims to promote potential research collaborations with some of the nation's top scientists.  

The Jefferson Science Fellow Distinguished Lecture Series will feature former Jefferson science fellows from across the nation. Every academic year, four fellows will travel to Kansas State University to talk about their research and their experiences at the U.S. Department of State.

Jefferson science fellows are tenured academic scientists and engineers from U.S. higher education institutions who spend a year serving as scientific advisers at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C. 

The four lecturers for the 2014-2015 school year and their Kansas State University host departments include:

  • Fall 2014: Mitch Turker, senior scientist and professor of molecular and medical genetics, Oregon Health and Science University

Hosted by the Johnson Cancer Research Center and the Division of Biology

  • Fall 2014: Kim Boyer, professor of electrical, computer and systems engineering, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Hosted by the electrical and computer engineering department

  • Spring 2015: Wayne Pennington, dean of the College of Engineering and professor of geophysical engineering, geological and mining engineering and sciences, Michigan Technical University

Hosted by the geology department 

  • Spring 2015: Bruce Conn, professor of biology, Berry College

Hosted by the entomology department

"The Jefferson fellow lecture series is an excellent opportunity to bring renowned scholars to campus and build our research collaborations," Kansas State University President Kirk Schulz said. "These connections with scholars who are well-known in their fields is a key component as we aim to become a Top 50 public research university by 2025."

The lecture series was developed by Kansas State University's three Jefferson science fellows: Brett DePaola, professor of physics and a 2010-2011 Jefferson science fellow; Richard Marston, university distinguished professor of geography and a 2011-2012 fellow; and Anil Pahwa, Logan-Fetterhoof chair and professor of electrical and computer engineering and a 2014-2015 fellow.

"All the Jefferson fellows that I have met have been really excited about the program and we thought we could take advantage of this enthusiasm to bring top people in their field to Kansas State University," DePaola said. 

DePaola said the lecture series has a two-fold purpose: to promote the Jefferson science fellow program at Kansas State University and to create research collaboration opportunities with top scientists. The office of the president is funding the first year of the lecture series and relevant departments are serving as host to each Jefferson fellow lecturer.

"We want these top researchers to come to K-State and we want to put our programs on their radar screen and to encourage collaborations," DePaola said.

More information about the lecture series, include lecture dates, will be provided as it becomes available.