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K-State Today

March 28, 2016

Wilken receives university award for undergraduate mentoring in research

Submitted by Division of Communications and Marketing

Lisa Wilken

Lisa Wilken, assistant professor of biological and agricultural engineering, is the 2016 recipient of the University Distinguished Faculty Award for the Mentoring of Undergraduate Students in Research, which recognizes outstanding individual contributions to the development of undergraduates in research projects at Kansas State University.

The award, given to a faculty member, is based on mentoring performed in the previous academic year. Wilken will receive an inscribed plaque and award of $2,500 at the All-University Awards Ceremony, May 2, in the K-State Alumni Center Ballroom.

"Lisa has proactively supported students' professional and scholarly development through actively advising undergraduate research and engineering design projects," said Joe Harner, head of the biological and agricultural engineering department. "Her passion is to teach the next generation of researchers by modeling the values and professional engineering skills she teaches her undergraduate students through mentoring."

Wilken joined K-State in 2012. Her research expertise is in bioseparations and bioprocessing. She and her research group are working to develop technologies and novel strategies for recovery and purification of pharmaceuticals, food and feed proteins, industrial proteins, and oil to advance bioenergy, food, and pharmaceutical processes and industries.

She is currently the faculty adviser for the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, Pre-Professional Club, Biological and Agricultural Engineering Open House, and Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society. She also has been actively involved in various leadership roles within the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers and the Institute of Biological Engineering. She currently chairs the Applied Science and Engineering Community of the society and the 2016 Institute of Biological Engineering National Bioethics Competition.

Wilken believes undergraduate mentoring can have a profound influence on a student's development and pursuit of a successful career path in engineering. Since 2012, she has mentored three senior design teams and 12 undergraduate student researchers. Seven of her undergraduate research mentees have received awards in local, national or international competitions.

"As a mentor, I strive to provide undergraduate students with valuable laboratory experience in developing novel bioprocessing techniques," she said. "I also strive to foster independent thinking and creativity, create a diverse and supportive environment, and encourage professional development."

Wilken has a bachelor's degree from K-State in biological and agricultural engineering, and a doctoral degree in the same discipline from Texas A&M University.

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