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K-State Today

July 7, 2014

Engineering extension awarded grant for summer institute for international Fulbright students

Submitted by David Carter

Engineering Extension in the College of Engineering at Kansas State University has been awarded a $153,400 grant from the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs to coordinate a five-week Summer Institute on Environmental Stewardship. This is the second award of a three-year grant for K-State to host this program.

The institute, which involves 19 students from the 13 countries of Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom, began July 3 in Manhattan and concludes with a trip to Washington, D.C., in early August. Participants were required to undergo a rigorous selection process, initiated by an application to the Fulbright Commission for their particular country.

"We are delighted by this award," said Bruce Snead, head of engineering extension. "This is a significant amount of funding for our program and is the first time the Department of State has been a funding source for us. The grant fits well with the environmental outreach mission of engineering extension and dovetails perfectly with our Pollution Prevention Institute summer student intern program we have been coordinating since 2006."

Curriculum for the summer institute, developed by project director David Carter and administrative director Kristina Snyder in engineering extension, will include field trips to unique Kansas organizations.

"As we did last year, we wanted to showcase the great variety of environmental stewardship practices the state of Kansas has to offer," Carter said. "We have field trips scheduled from Greensburg to Kansas City, with stops in Lawrence, Topeka and Burlington, to name just a few places."

In Manhattan, students will tour Sunset Zoo, Flint Hills Discovery Center, the K-State nuclear reactor, and the Konza Prairie Biological Station. Other trips include the University of Kansas field station, the city of Greensburg, Wolf Creek Nuclear Power Plant and Westar's Jeffrey Energy Center. The group also will conduct a community service project with the Manhattan Konza Rotary Club.

As part of the grant requirements, the program will expose the international students, many of whom have never traveled to the U.S., to American culture. Participants will be treated to recreational Kansas experiences, including fireworks on the 4th of July, the Manhattan Underground Railroad tour, Manhattan's Arts in the Park, a Kansas City Royals baseball game and a canoe trip down the Kansas River.

"One of the most satisfying parts of this program is the building of partnerships with local organizations," said Snyder. "The Manhattan Konza Rotary, for example, has not only agreed to sponsor the closing reception for the summer institute students, but many of their members also are inviting the students to their homes for dinner on evenings when no formal events are scheduled."

Other partner groups include Westar Energy, Philips Lighting, Wolf Creek Nuclear Operating Corp., the Environmental Protection Agency and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

"Being able to submit more than 20 letters of commitment and matching funds of more than $20,000 with the grant application was certainly a major factor in receiving this award," Carter said. "We are extremely grateful for the relationship we have with all of our partners."