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K-State Today

June 5, 2014



Letter to the university from the vice president for research: Continuing a passion for RSCAD

By Karen Burg

Dear K-State faculty and staff,

I am truly thrilled to be joining you in August as the vice president for research, and I am sincerely grateful for the warm K-State welcome and enthusiasm that I've felt so far. A big thank you to Ron Trewyn and the research office personnel who are graciously helping me transition. I look forward to helping build Research, Scholarly and Creative Activities, and Discovery, or RSCAD, activities that highlight the unique talents and expertise of K-State.

I was first hooked on research in high school, when I worked as a lab assistant in a university cancer lab. The idea of being able to help people and contribute to an evolving body of technical knowledge was hypnotic. I've been involved in RSCAD-type activities ever since. I am fortunate to have been surrounded by mentors, colleagues and mentees who found similar enthusiasm and who had technical expertise and interests in a wide array of areas. I am also fortunate for the past two decades to have been a part of a land-grant university, where the focus is on collaboratively building community.

Most recently I have been working with Clemson University graduate students, faculty and staff from all disciplines as interim vice provost and dean of the Graduate School, to support and improve the graduate experience. I have enjoyed the breadth of creative activities. People sometimes forget that students are the university's core; it has been a privilege to work at the core, helping our future leaders.

As for my personal background, I have been a part of the Clemson University community for 21 years, as has my husband, Tim. We met as graduate students at Clemson — he is an electrical engineer, and I am a chemical/bioengineer. We were assigned to the same graduate student office, but actually met on the university basketball courts. Unbeknownst to our graduate school advisors, we both spent more hours playing basketball than studying.

Tim and I share a passion for almost anything by way of sports — hiking, running, horseshoes, autocross, road and mountain biking to name a few. We've participated in the New York City Marathon, Atlanta Marathon relay, the Charlotte MS 150 bike ride, and countless road races, mud runs and triathlons.

Over the years, we've collaborated on research and training projects and have both enjoyed working with teams of graduate and undergraduate students to connect university engineering and science research activities to K-12 students and teachers. We enjoy spending time with students; our home is known to our students as "the Burg/Griswold house" during the winter holiday season. We are looking forward to our K-State adventures with you.

I am excited to be joining you this fall. Please bear with me as I learn names and discover the university. I'll make a point to communicate on a regular basis through this and other forums, so here are a few starter updates:

  • There is now a Twitter feed for K-State RSCAD information and activities, so twitter enthusiasts, please follow and contribute: @KState_RSCAD.
  • Please send representative photos of your RSCAD work to my attention, kjburg@k-state.edu. We would like to introduce it to the campus community through Web and social media.
  • We will be enhancing the research Web pages, so consider the tools and information that you would like to see and let me know!
  • In the fall I will be joining President Schulz and Provost and Senior Vice President Mason as they visit with each of the colleges. My goal is to listen to you and hear how we might best assist you in RSCAD endeavors.

I look forward to meeting you and working with you.

Best wishes from Clemson,

Karen Burg