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K-State Today

August 23, 2023

Bunnel to serve College of Agriculture as associate director for research and international initiatives

Submitted by Caroline Kolins

Dena Bunnel

Dena Bunnel has rejoined Kansas State University's College of Agriculture to serve as the associate director for research and international initiatives.

In this role, Bunnel will focus on strategic investments in international agricultural programs and research programs for the college. The position will support the associate dean and director for research and graduate programs, Jane Schuh, and the associate dean for international agricultural programs, Nina Lilja. Bunnel will assist faculty with international special projects, coordinate international visitors and scholars, and facilitate interdisciplinary research through collaboration events and identification of funding opportunities. Bunnel will also teach the capstone course for the global food systems leadership secondary major in the fall semester.

"I'm thrilled to be back at K-State at such an exciting time for our university, supporting research investments and international opportunities in agriculture," Bunnel said. "International reach is a key component of K-State's mission, and we face unprecedented challenges and opportunities in our global food and agriculture system. K-State is well placed to lead cutting-edge research in agriculture that will benefit global communities and Kansas communities alike. I'm grateful to be able to support these investments at my alma mater."

Bunnel previously served as the assistant director of the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for the Reduction of Post-Harvest Loss in the College of Agriculture from 2016-2020.

"We're so pleased to bring Dena back to K-State to help us move forward key priorities in innovative and sustainable agriculture that will drive economic growth and national and international investment for our state and university," said Ernie Minton, Eldon Gideon dean of the College of Agriculture and director of K-State Research and Extension. "She has a strong understanding of agricultural issues both here in Kansas and around the world."

Bunnel is a multigeneration K-Stater who grew up on a dairy farm in eastern Kansas. She most recently served as a technical advisor in northeast Nigeria with Nuru International, where she provided technical and institutional capacity building to a Nigerian team working with small farmer cooperatives. She also spent two years as an agricultural advisor with the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service in Kabul, Afghanistan, from 2012-2014.

Bunnel received her bachelor's degrees from K-State in agricultural communications and journalism and political science in 2010, and she was a 2009 Harry S. Truman Public Service Scholar. She holds master's degrees from the University of California, Davis in agricultural and resource economics and international agricultural development. She is a doctoral candidate in the security studies program at K-State, where her research is focused on agricultural market systems in conflict-affected communities. She also serves on the advisory board for K-State's agricultural communication and journalism major.