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Office for the Advancement of Women in Science and Engineering

GROW & EXCITE Career Chats

As we shifted to a virtual world this past spring, KAWSE remained committed to providing quality STEM-themed material for middle and high-school students. We held weekly Career Chats: informal conversations with STEM professionals and students in a variety of fields. We learned more about what it's like to work and study various science, technology, engineering or math careers, and participants had a change to ask any burning questions they had. Our Career Chats were formatted to typically last 30-45 minutes in length, with plenty of time to ask questions throughout!

Is a recording of the Career Chats available? 

Although we have concluded the live Career Chats for the spring semester, information of the sessions we hosted Spring 2020 are provided below. We also have a few recorded for your viewing! Check out the following presenters' tabs to access their Career Chat recording! 

- Robyn Hutchins - Laura Pulscher - Mia Kossover - Sara Haggard - 

Have questions? Please email kawse@ksu and let us know. Hope to see you at our future events! 

How can I give a Career Chat?

If you are a STEM practitioner, we'd love to feature you! To qualify, you must be a student or professional in a STEM field who seeks to inspire younger students and is committed to gender equality. To sign up, please email kawse@ksu.edu

Past Career Chats

Morgan Greene 

Morgan Greene, KAWSE Program Coordinator, received a bachelors of science in forest biology from Colorado State University in 2012. Her experiences include work as a wildland firefighter, field technician, environmental educator, watershed coordinator, and more. Learn more about her journey in STEM and across the United States as an environmental scientist. 


Claire Derr 

Claire is a Designer at Animal Arts, an architecture firm that specializes in animal care facilities such as veterinary clinics, animal shelters, teaching hospitals and more. Claire received a Bachelors in Environmental Design with an Architectural Emphasis from the University of Colorado, Boulder. Among her past experiences include a semester in Sustainable Design Build with Yestermorrow Design/Build School in Vermont.


Hollis Lyman

Hollis Lyman is a Project Coordinator at the University of Denver (DU) working on a grant that creates a professional pipeline for therapists specializing in substance use disorders, focused on Latinx populations, and Infant and Early Mental Health populations. She received her Bachelors of Science in Psychology and Criminology from The Ohio State University and her Master's of Arts in Sport and Performance Psychology at DU. Hollis has been a research assistant in a wide variety of labs and is grateful for her job experiences in a police department, a veterinary hospital, at universities, and as a coach. Her research currently focuses on concussion and traumatic brain injury in vulnerable populations. She aspires to become a Clinical Neuropsychologist and to continue to work with vulnerable populations. 


Robyn Hutchins 

Robyn is a Graduate Student studying Nuclear Engineering at Kansas State University (KSU) where she also completed her Bachelors Degree in Mechanical Engineering in Fall 2019. Within Mechanical Engineering, Robyn focused on the Nuclear Engineering applications such as radiation shielding, detection, and power generation. As an undergraduate student, one of the companies Robyn interned with, Worldwide Steel Buildings, allowed her to learn to design wood and steel buildings as a student engineer. In addition to Worldwide Steel buildings, Robyn spent another 2 summers at the S.M.A.R.T. (Semiconductor Material and Radiological Technology) Laboratory working with a manhattan based company, Radiation Detection Technology (RDT), on various radiation detection projects. In her senior year, Robyn interned at Honeywell Federal Manufacturing & Technology (FM&T) where she was able to work on various technologies to support national security objectives. 

Today, Robyn studies and researches radiation detection through her position as a Graduate Research Assistant in the KSU S.M.A.R.T. Lab. Within the S.M.A.R.T. Lab, Robyn builds, tests, and improves radiation detectors at various stages of production. Her current project uses semiconductor radiation detectors in a wearable detector device (a vest for soldiers to wear in the field) that can give soldiers live data about the radiation they could be exposed to. Away from the S.M.A.R.T. Lab, in the 2020 Legislative session, Robyn was a Kansas House of Representatives Intern for Reps. Mark Schreiber, Leonard Mastroni and Tom Cox at the State Capitol. Throught the session, Robyn was able to participate in the legislative process of various bills coming into law for the State of Kansas. 

Away from work and school, Robyn enjoys reading, being outside, and playing with her Miniature Schnauzer puppy, Sampson. To watch Robyn's Career Chat, please click here


Laura Pulscher 

Laura comes from a strong background in infectious disease research and is particularly interested in the intersection between human, animal and environmental health with an emphasis on wildlife infectious disease. Prior to her PhD studies at the University of Sydney, Laura completed a Bachelor of Science in Fish, Wildlife and Conservation Biology from Colorado State University in 2011. For her undergraduate thesis, Laura spent three months in Kruger National Park, South Africa, studying the impacts of land management on ungulate behavior. In addition to her interest in land management and ecosystem health, her interest in wildlife disease stemmed from her time as a student intern for the Colorado Parks and Wildlife. 

After completing her BSc, Laura worked for several years at various organization in Colorado focusing on wildlife health, conservation and zoonotic infectuious diseases before deciding to pursue a Master's degree in Global Health at Duke University. During her time at Duke University, she trained with the Duke One Health Laboratory where she studied the role of small mammals in the ecology of tick-borne pathogens in northern Mongolia. Her team even had a short film made about their research! Prior to joining the University of Sydney to start her PhD, Laura continued to work for the Duke One Health Laboratory where she served as a Research Analyst studying infectious disease at the human-animal interface in the United States and Kunshan, China. To watch Laura's Career Chat, please click here


Mia Kossover 

Mia Kossover is majoring in Criminology at Kansas State University. With this major, she studies crime and criminal behavior in society as well as its consequences and causes. Mia currently works as a Police Response Advocate for the Crisis Center. This job requires her to respond to domestic violence crime scenes in Riley County alongside police officers to provide on-site crisis intervention services to victims. Mia is also presently applying to help with research centering around the largest immigration detention center in the United States located in South Texas. At the moment, this entails researching the relationship between COVID-19 and asylum. 

Last summer, Mia interned for CASA of Sedgwick County where she attended court hearings at Sedgwick County Juvenile District Court and assisted in organizing case files for advocates and volunteers. To view Mia's Career Chat, please click here


Sara Haggard 

Sara Haggard is a freshman at K-State, originally from Topeka. She's double-majoring in Spanish and Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics, with which she hopes to enter UMKC dental school. She plans to become a general dentist, oral surgeon, or optometrist--she's got plenty of time to decide! In her free time, Sara greatly enjoys reading, painting, and running, as well as playing music. She plays several instruments, including the piano, and played the trombone in the K-State marching band this past semester! She's very passionate about science education, and loves volunteering with KAWSE to advocate for more young women interested in STEM! To view Sarah's Career Chat, please click here


Courtney Catt 

Courtney Catt is a sophomore at K-State majoring in Biology with a focus on Pre-Vet Med. She grew up on the westside of Wichita, KS. After getting her BS, she hopes to go on to vet school to get her DVM, and hopes to focus on exotic animal medicine. As a fun fact, Courtney grew up taking classes at the Sedwick County Zoo every summer, which led to internships and volunteering. That allowed her to be able to do anything from trimming hooves in the farm department to feeding the great apes and even the African elephants!


Courtney Johnson 

Courtney Johnson is a senior double majoring in Biochemistry and Chemistry. Highly active on campus, Courtney has served as a mentor and role model at GROW and EXCITE events in the past.


Olivia Elmore 

Olivia Elmore is a freshman at K-State. She is majoring in Kinesiology with a minor in Trauma and Conflict Analysis. After graduate, Olivia hopes to become either a chiropractor or kinesiologist. She's originally from Wichita, KS, and her favorite pair of shoes are her tie dye crocs!


Maisie Edmonson 

Maisie Edmonson is currently in her second year, majoring in Interior Architecture and Product Design. She is originally from McPherson, KS and played soccer and tennis during high school. With her degree, Maisie hopes to design spaces that change the world. Whether that be hospital lobbies, residential housing, or art exhibits, the possibilities are endless. Her favorite part about her major is how creative she gets to be. Many people thing architecture is very technical and math-based, but it is quite the opposite. Some days, Maisie can be found sketching at her desk and others she is in the shop building a model; no two days are exactly alike and that is the best part of her program.


Engineers Without Borders 

Engineers Without Borders is an international organization dedicated to providing engineering solutions to communities that need them. The KSU chapter of Engineers Without Borders has worked in Guatemala for several years, and is currently working on building a kitchen for the community's school. They have also started working on a new water project in Nicaragua. In this Career Chat, several members of the KSU Engineers Without Borders chapter--representing almost all the Engineering majors--will share more about their experiences. 


Ashleigh Prest 

Ashleigh Prest holds a Bachelor of Pharmaceutical Engineering (Honours) from the University of Adelaide, Australia. She has a broad range of experience across manufacturing, regulatory affairs, market access and business development. With a background primarily within start-up and early stage organizations, Ashleigh has a particular interest in strategy and commercialization including market evaluation, product positioning and strategy, financial evaluation and business development. She is especially passionate about driving positive patient outcomes via healthcare innovations and in 2017 was the inagural recipient of the ARCS Katrina Campion Scholarship for Developing Leaders.


Catherine Stewart 

Catherine is originally from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She received an undergraduate degree in biology from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, and a Masters in agronomy/plant pathology from the University of Nebraska. She's currently pursuing a PhD in genetics at Kansas State University. She hopes to use hr education to contribute to a reliable agricultural future for the US and beyond. In her PhD research, for example, Catherine is examining how soil microbes impact agriculture. She hopes to introduce you to the wide range of career opportunities available in agricultural research--some that you may never have thought of before!

Beyond school, Catherine loves to hike. She played oboe in high school as well as a little bit in college. She's lived in 10 different US states, and looks forward to being able to travel to other countries for fun in the (hopefully) near future.