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K-State Today

January 10, 2013



Dean, professor and mentor invests time and money in graduate students

By Marisa Larson

Leading by example, Carol Shanklin, dean of the Graduate School, has created a research enhancement fund for female doctoral students in STEM fields: science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The fund can be used to support the recipients’ research, tuition, attendance at conferences or any expenses required to complete their doctoral degree.

“One of the areas that I have to do as a dean is fundraising and I thought I should be a role model,” Shanklin said. “As I solicit alumni and friends for support, at least I can give examples of the types of support already given to the colleges and then my belief in what I do by investing myself in planned giving.”

As well as being the dean of the Graduate School, Shanklin is also a professor of hospitality management and dietetics, serving the dietetics profession for more than 35 years. She received her master’s degree and doctorate from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, in home economics and food systems administration. Shanklin’s research has focused on food safety and biosecurity in food service operations, the improvement of food service operations in long-term care retirement communities, alternative approaches to waste management and the minimization of solid waste in food service operations.

What inspired you to create this scholarship? 
There is a significant need  to increase graduate students' stipends, provide support for tuition, and provide support for them to be able to travel to professional meetings and present their research so they are really competitive in the job market. My passion for graduate education and our graduate students’ success is what leads to what I do for graduate students and our graduate programs. I believe in the value of graduate education and want to support women who plan to contribute to advancements in the STEM fields.

Tell me more about the importance of supporting women in STEM.
In many of the areas, especially in engineering and mathematics, there are a limited number of women who pursue a doctoral degree. We need these women in faculty and leadership roles within the STEM fields, not only in academia, but we also need them in industry and government positions to conduct leading edge research, educate and advance policy while making major contributions to the STEM disciplines.

What impact do you hope this fund has?
I’m hoping it will motivate alumni and friends of K-State to see the value of investing in graduate education through scholarships, fellowships or awards. Our graduate students are contributing to one or more missions of Kansas State University, and as a result they are not only in a learning environment, but they’re contributing concurrently in their role as a graduate teaching assistant, a research assistant or a graduate assistant. I’m hoping that people will see the importance of supporting graduate students and graduate education at K-State and know that their contributions will have an immediate impact on the success of these students, and help advance K-State in meeting our goal of becoming a Top 50 research university by 2025.

Tell me about your time here at K-State. 
The motivating factor for me to come to K-State from Texas Woman’s University was the ability to focus on graduate education. Working with both master’s and doctoral students has been one of the most rewarding parts of my career and I actually moved here so I could focus on helping the hospitality management and dietetics department advance its graduate programs through mentoring and advancing its graduate curriculum. I’ve always had a passion for helping students grow and develop and have been able to focus with the graduate students. One of the most rewarding parts of my career has been seeing the graduate students’ success after they complete their studies and knowing that I made a difference.

Do you have another scholarship that has been awarded?
Yes, it’s in human ecology for doctoral students in hospitality management and dietetics. Not only did I start this new fund, but I also did a planned gift to bring that up to the same level.  I decided to support doctoral students in hospitality management and dietetics since that was my field and I’ve seen so many students be successful. I just wanted to be able to do something while I was here to make a difference for these students. I got an award recognizing my mentoring of students and used it to start the hospitality management and dietetics scholarships so I could begin investing in students today.

So you’ve seen the impact of that current scholarship. 
Right. I’m not involved in the selection but sometimes my own students who I’ve mentored have received it. So I’ve actually been able to see it impact my students and then we keep in contact. One young man is at Bradley University, another recipient just started at Auburn and another is at Louisiana Tech. I’m able to know what they’re doing professionally and that makes it even more rewarding because you actually see the benefits of their gift in action.