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K-State Today

May 13, 2014

Olathe campus graduates first food science master's degree student since opening in 2011

Submitted by K-State Olathe

Bryan Severns

Bringing to fruition a primary goal of the Johnson County Education Research Triangle, or JCERT, initiative, Kansas State University Olathe will graduate its first master's degree student in food science this month.

The K-State Olathe campus opened in 2011 as part of the JCERT initiative, which provides operational funding from a 2008 voter-approved 1/8-cent sales tax. The initiative mandated that the campus provide research and graduate education for workforce and economic development, focusing in particular on food safety and security and animal health.

Bryan Severns will complete his master's in food science at the campus May 16. Severns is a 35-year food industry veteran who postponed his college education for more than three decades. He completed his bachelor's degree at Kansas State University in 2010, and, soon will be conferred his master's degree.

The greatest value of his K-State degree, Severns said, is that it has opened doors to industry partnerships, teaching opportunities and food research. Consistent with the K-State Olathe campus's goals, he will use newfound networks to expand his interaction with business and industry and to make an impact on food safety and regulatory training.

Seven other students will complete their master's degrees in adult and continuing education this month. Among them is Steve McCorkill, who was attracted to the program after reading a K-State Olathe flyer that said, "We did it, and so can you."

"The convenience of attending (class) one night a week was wonderful," McCorkill said. "I was able to complete this degree while maintaining my full-time job and my busy family life. K-State Olathe staff did everything they could to make sure my success was their top priority. I am proof that the flyer was correct."

"Given that we are a very young campus, we couldn't be more delighted with the impact our first graduates are already making and will continue to make in addressing the long-term needs of industries in our region," said Prema Arasu, K-State Olathe CEO. "These graduates are tangible evidence that the campus is fulfilling its charge to educate and provide new skills that will make our students more competitive in the contest for talent across communities and industries around the globe."