K-State Current

K-State Current - January 12, 2022

K-State Current is a weekly news update for the Kansas Board of Regents to apprise the Regents on a few of the many successes and achievements made by K-State faculty, staff and students.

Snowy Wildcat

K-State News

Health and Human Sciences researchers receive renewable $300,000 grant to launch online program assisting youth with transitioning into adulthood

Department of Applied Human SciencesThree researchers in the Department of Applied Human Sciences have been awarded a grant from the Administration for Children and Families to implement and evaluate an online version on their program, Relationship Goals, or #RG. Drs. Amber Vennum, Michelle Toews and Kristin Anders, will lead the program that is used to promote successful transitions to adulthood by empowering youth to make healthy decisions; set goals to promote sexual health and reduce risky behaviors; and develop the communication, conflict resolution and copings skills needed to thrive. Kansas youth, ages 13 to 19, who reside in Geary, Wyandotte, Sedgwick and Cherokee counties, along with the Wildcat Extension District are eligible for the program.

The online program, to be called #RG-Beyond Just Talking, or #RG-BJT, will include 15 asynchronous lessons supported by bi-weekly synchronous peer empowerment groups. Lessons cover topics such as self-awareness, recognizing health and unhealthy relationship characteristics, relationship expectations and values, communication skills, conflict resolution strategies, stress management, decision-making, goals setting, sexual health and safety, and trauma and its effects on forming and maintaining healthy relationships.

“Youth who participated in an earlier version of our program improved their communication and conflict resolution skills, were better able to identify healthy and unhealthy relationship characteristics, and reported that ‘#RG helped me understand that I need to think everything I do over and make sure that what I’m doing is the right thing to do and how to be more responsible,’” shared Toews. “Due to COVID-19, we are unable to deliver our program in schools as we have previously. Therefore, we are modifying our program so it can be delivered online in order to reach as many Kansas youth as possible.”

The grant will supply the research team with $321,100 a year for up to three years.


K-State Faculty Highlights

Megan McCoy recognized as Professor of the Week

Megan McCoyMegan McCoy, professor of practice in financial planning, was recognized as Professor of the Week at the Dec. 12 men's home basketball game.

Faculty Senate, the Office of the President, K-State Athletics and the Division of Communications and Marketing wish to recognize her contributions to K-State.

McCoy is passionate about the field of financial therapy, or the study of the intersection between our financial health and overall well-being. She recently started teaching a financial well-being course for undergraduates as part of the health and human sciences integrative studies that has become popular with numerous majors at K-State. Since McCoy arrived at K-State two years ago, she has proven to be a dynamic instructor, bringing unparalleled energy and passion to the classroom. Her engagement style has led to strong student outcomes, creating robust community in undergraduate courses as reflected by strong teaching evaluations, and leading to multiple research publications for master's students. What is particularly noteworthy is that McCoy has thrived in the classroom at all levels, whether it be undergraduate, master's, or doctoral, and whether it is online, hybrid or in person, she truly cares about the students' success.

As one student put it on her Teval, "In all my years of higher ed learning, Dr. McCoy has to be the most passionate professor I've ever had teaching an introductory course. Her enthusiasm is infectious and has made me excited about something I never thought I would have any interest in. Even though I am a digital student, I know she cares about me and my success — I cannot say that about many online classes I have taken. Thank you for being awesome, Dr. McCoy!"


Kramer elected chair of Kansas State Board of Technical Professions committee

Kimberly Waggle KramerKimberly Waggle Kramer, director of graduate studies and professor in the GE Johnson Department of Architectural Engineering and Construction Science at Kansas State University, was recently elected as Professional Engineer/Professional Surveyor committee chair of the Kansas State Board of Technical Professions.

Kramer, who also holds the G.E. Johnson Construction Science chair, was appointed to the board by Gov. Laura Kelly in September 2019 and is the first female professional engineer to serve on the board and the first female to chair the Professional Engineer/Professional Surveyor committee.

Kramer received her bachelor's degree in architectural engineering from the Carl R. Ice College of Engineering at Kansas State University before earning a master's in civil engineering with an emphasis in structures and applied mechanics from the University of Texas, Arlington. She accepted a position in the architectural engineering and construction science department in 2003 and earned her doctorate in civil engineering while working full time at K-State.

Kramer is a licensed professional engineer in 13 states and in 2015 was named a fellow of the American Concrete Institute. She recently won the ACI Concrete Sustainability Award for providing outstanding leadership and contributions to the field.

The Kansas State Board of Technical Professions is a combined board that represents professional engineering, architecture, landscape architecture, surveying and geology.

The mission of the board is to provide maximum protection of the health, safety, property and welfare of the people of Kansas by assuring that the practice of architecture, engineering, geology, landscape architecture and land surveying in the state is carried out only by those persons who are proven to be qualified as prescribed by the statutes and rules and regulations of the Board of Technical Professions.


APDesign associate professor LaBarbara James Wigfall honored by NOMA

LaBarbara James WigfallLaBarbara James Wigfall, associate professor of landscape architecture and regional & community planning at K-State's College of Architecture, Planning & Design, was honored by the National Organization of Minority Architects, or NOMA, as Midwest member of the year for 2021.

Wigfall is a recognized scholar on the history and present-day planning needs of African American towns and settlements in the United States. Notably, she has worked with the community of Nicodemus for more than 30 years and was instrumental in the townsite's designation as a National Historic Site.

She inaugurated the K-State student chapter of the National Organization of Minority Architects, called NOMAS, in 1990 and has been its dedicated advisor, accompanying students to the conference and preparing them for the NOMAS annual competition. Under her leadership, the NOMAS chapter has established a legacy of submitting and facilitating a NOMA session for students at the international conference, beginning with the first student-led session on emerging technologies for professionals at the Los Angeles conference in the late 1990s.

A member since 2008, Wigfall has served many roles, including Midwest university liaison on the NOMA Board. Before joining NOMA, she did dedicated work toward diversity, equity and inclusion in the professions of architecture and planning.

Professionally, she has served the National Park Service in Washington, D.C., on the national design competition committee to commemorate Women in Military Service for America at Arlington National Cemetery. In 2015, she led a student competition team that was a finalist for the National Park Service Parks for the People competition, which was focused on expanding access to our national parks for all people.

Wigfall has made substantial contributions to Kansas State University, including leading the planning and programming for its multicultural student center by NOMAS, the renaming of a city street leading to campus as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, and planning/designing the future Coretta Scott King Gardens of Engagement by the NOMAS. It was the chapter's community engagement session that prompted the design firm HOK | St. Louis to voluntarily help shepherd the construction documents and approval process through campus facilities. For that work, the NOMAS chapter won Student Chapter of the Year. She has served APDesign as diversity point person and makes frequent contributions to learning for students, faculty and staff.

Wigfall joined the faculty at Kansas State University in 1987 after 10 years of private practice in Texas and faculty appointments/fellowships at Howard University, University of Texas, University of California, Berkeley and University of Arkansas, Fayetteville. She is the first African American female faculty member to receive tenure and promotion at K-State in 1997, having garnered several K-State awards for distinguished service to minority education and outstanding undergraduate teaching. She initiated the K-State Hazardous Substance Research Center as a strategic planner. Her community service initiatives include projects for Stella, Missouri; Olathe, Kansas; and Newburg, Missouri, highlighting the positive impact of a visioning process on community well-being.

Precursory research on African American communities acknowledges the dynamic role and service cultural landscapes have performed in our nation's history. She expanded this scholarly work in Africa, identifying patterns in the environment that may explain African-American antecedents. Ultimately, her commitment to community empowerment and preservation demonstrates how the cultivation of human and cultural assets serves as a vehicle for building sustainable communities.


K-State Student News

All female financial planning team takes second place in national competition

Financial Planning Competition TeamMegan Klug, Britta Beesley and Ana Sanko, seniors in the personal financial planning program, received second place in the national Financial Planning Competition hosted each year by the Financial Planning Association. Since 2014, K-State has been named a top-three team five times.

Each year, the challenge engages students in a holistic financial planning learning experience and expands awareness of the professional community and organizations that support the profession. The challenge is done in three phases. In phase one, students are given profiles for two hypothetical clients and prepare a comprehensive financial plan. Eight teams are then selected to move to phase two, which is an oral presentation of a case study. The final phase is the “How Do You Know?” jeopardy style challenge.

With their second-place finish, the team secured a $5,000 scholarship for the personal financial planning department.

“Megan, Britta, and Ana represent the first all-female team to compete from K-State and one of the first to compete nationally,” said personal financial planning department head, Martin Seay. “The team’s accomplishment is a strong testament to the success of females in the financial planning field. Though the number of CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professionals has seen a large growth, women continue to make up only 23% of the workforce.” “We are proud of Megan, Britta, and Ana, who despite the challenges of having to present virtually after the cancelation of the annual conference, represented Kansas State well on the national stage.”

Consistently rated as a top program nationally, the Department of Personal Financial Planning at Kansas State University is renowned for its education, research, and thought leadership in financial planning. Faculty specialize in the behavioral elements of financial planning, providing insight into how advisors can shape client behavior to promote well-being. The department offers a bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree along with several professional certificates both on campus and online.

The Financial Planning Association (FPA®) is the premier professional organization for Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) professionals, educators, financial services providers and students who seek advancement in a growing, dynamic profession.





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