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Presidential Lecture Series


Agriculture:  Meeting the Challenges of the 21st Century

Dr. Chuck Rice, University Distinguished Professor of Soil Microbiology

Agriculture and the agricultural sciences have some of the greatest challenges and opportunities in the next several decades.  Challenges facing agriculture include food security, energy, natural resources (water and soil) and changing climates.  By the year 2050 the world population is expected to reach >9 billion people.  It is estimated that food production will need to double. Global demand for energy is also expected to increase and agriculture is an energy user and potential supplier.  Key natural resources of soil and water are in limited supply and are being degraded.  Projected changes in climate may alter food production and soil and water resources.  To meet these challenges agriculture will need to intensify and diversify our agricultural production in order to meet the food security challenge while sustaining our soil and water resources.

Exploring Public Health Careers 

Ms. Martha Nowak, K-12 Engagement Coordinator at K-State Olathe

This presentation will cover the possible careers in the arena of Public Health, including education, administration/management, policy, community practice, and research. The varied career environments, level of education required, and challenges facing Public Health will be presented. A PowerPoint presentation will take 20 minutes, and then a hands on activity to design a wearable health device will be conducted.

Careers in Interior Design: It’s More Than You Think

Dr. Migette Kaup, Professor of Apparel, Textile, & Design

The profession of Interior Design provides a diverse range of career opportunities for people with the right education.  The qualifications of professionals in the field, however, are commonly misunderstood.  This presentation will discuss interior design as a distinctive and recognizable profession, the educational standards that are considered as minimum preparation for professional status, and the changing legal requirements in many states that regulate practice.  For students who are considering Interior Design education, this presentation will help them to seek out the educational program that best suits their interests and will debunk the myths commonly associated with interior designers.

Exploring Engineering Options

Mr. Craig Wanklyn, Recruitment Coordinator for College of Engineering

With the total amount of STEM-related (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) careers set to increase by 19% over the next ten years, the concept of an encompassing and comprehensive education within engineering has become a top priority for high schools, colleges, and universities across the nation. “Never Stop Ascending” looks to engage future engineers by focusing on important educational aspects and attributes, consistent qualities in successful engineers, leadership opportunities, and career spotlights on those who make an impact while using their engineering education.

The Importance of Planning in Our Regions and Community:  Past, Present and Future

Dr. Huston Gibson, Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture and Regional & Community Planning

This is an introductory lecture on regional and community planning. This lecture will provide a general overview of planning history, processes, tools, and theories. Audiences will be introduced to the profession, a variety of regional and community planning topics, and some of the biggest planning challenges and opportunities facing our regions and communities today. Planning is about making great communities happen; find out more at www.planning.org.

Using Science to Work with Animals: Career Opportunities

Dr. Barry Bradford, Associate Professor of Animal Science and Industry

The number of pets in the U.S. continues to increase at dramatic rate, and the population of students entering college with an interest in a career working with animals is also on the rise.  Most of these students, though, have little idea that there are professionals other than veterinarians who apply science to the goal of raising healthy animals.  The goal of this presentation will be to give students a broader perspective of the many science-based careers options that exist for animal lovers.

Outside the Box: A Look at the Profession of Landscape Architecture

Ms. Jessica Canfield, Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture and Regional & Community Planning

Too often the work of landscape architects goes unrecognized or is widely misunderstood. Yet the work of landscape architects surrounds our daily lives, from parks to playgrounds, streetscapes to plazas, and green roofs to gardens. Landscape architects transform spaces into places—for recreation, for relaxation, for entertainment, and for learning and delight. Landscape architects are not only concerned for the health, safety, and welfare of people, but for the environment and its natural resources as well. This presentation highlights some of the world’s most cutting-edge designed landscapes, while also defining what 21st century landscape architecture entails.


Career Exploration 

Blue Key Senior Honorary

This presentation works to provide students a platform to discuss their vales, passions, and abilities, and subsequently explore careers that align with those characteristics. 

Challenges and Opportunities in Statistics and Data Sciences: What can Statisticians and Data Scientists do in the Data Swamp Era? 

Dr. Haiyan Wang, Professor 

In today’s world, constantly improving technologies have facilitated the production of vast quantities of data. Data arise from everywhere: apps from personal electronic devices, stock market trends, medical or fitness devices such as smartwatches tracking numerous metrics (e.g. heart rate), and Amazon identifying shoppers’ interests by analyzing their browsing history, etc. There are numerous applications for these data, especially when it comes to unearthing novel scientific insights and facilitating future innovations. Along with this influx of data comes a strong need for powerful computing tools that can take advantage of it. An education in Statistics and Data Science can help build the necessary expertise to extract information and insight to tackle real-world problems. This lecture topic will introduce the challenges and opportunities underlying Statistics and Data sciences. A few applications may be illustrated: How can individual genetic data be used to predict disease occurrence? How does Netflix suggest shows to watch? How does Google’s search algorithm beat other browsers in speed and popularity? What tool does Amazon use to recommend a product? What makes Artificial Intelligence a hot topic again? The answers can be found in Statistics and Data Science.