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K-State News
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Morse Scholarship allows student from Clay Center to fight for the future of Kansas water

Monday, May 1, 2017


MANHATTAN — Thanks to a generous scholarship, one Kansas State University student will spend this summer educating rural Kansas students about water conservation.

Katelyn Bohnenblust, Clay Center, has received the 2017 Marjorie J. & Richard L.D. Morse Family and Community Public Policy Scholarship from K-State Libraries. The $3,000 scholarship is awarded to support an undergraduate project that involves community service and has the potential to impact public policy.

Bohnenblust is a freshman majoring in agricultural education with minors in animal sciences and industry and international agriculture. She will use the scholarship to support her work as a mentor and undergraduate assistant for a new program called Training the Next Generation of Kansas Water Advocates, a conservation initiative and conference for Kansas teens.

According to the Kansas Department of Agriculture, the Ogallala Aquifer adds $7 billion to the western Kansas economy, but without conservation efforts this resource will be 70 percent depleted in the next 50 years. Training the Next Generation of Kansas Water Advocates will teach innovative high school students to embrace and promote water conservation. Long-term, Bohnenblust and program leaders Gaea Hock, assistant professor of agricultural education, and Susan Metzger, assistant secretary of the state Department of Agriculture, hope the initiative results in industry, community and educational partnerships that will promote water-related careers, thereby securing Kansas' long-term water supply.

Bohnenblust will help develop the program, write curriculum and mentor the high school students during their year of service. She'll also help secure expert speakers for the summer conference.

"The Morse Scholarship is an extraordinary award because it recognizes an excellent K-State student and connects that individual's energy and interests to a real-world problem," said Lori Goetsch, dean of K-State Libraries. "We look forward to hearing about how Katelyn leverages her hard work."

"I grew up on a farm, and I'm passionate about preserving our way of life," Bohnenblust said. "In rural Kansas, maintaining irrigated agriculture and livestock production is directly linked to a community's ability to maintain its schools, hospital and even its future."

Bohnenblust served as the 2016-2017 Kansas FFA state treasurer. She is also a member of the KSU Student Foundation and Quest Freshman Honorary, as well as many other agriculture-related student organizations.

The Morse Scholarship has been awarded annually since 2001. It was made possible through an endowment established by Marjorie J. and Dr. Richard L.D. Morse. Richard Morse was a Kansas State University professor and chair of the university's family economics department. Marjorie Morse became an expert in child care issues and served in numerous positions in that area throughout her career. In recognition of their financial support of K-State Libraries' special collections, the Richard L.D and Marjorie J. Morse Department of Special Collections was named in their honor in 1997.


Darchelle Martin

News tip

Clay Center and Manhattan

Written by

Sarah McGreer Hoyt