May 6, 2020
Blue Key Senior Honorary selects outstanding alumni award recipient
The K-State chapter of Blue Key has a deep focus on leadership development and service to others. Blue Key selected Dena Bunnel as this year's recipient of the Richard E. Mistler Outstanding Blue Key Alumni award. Bunnel was a member of the 2008-2009 Blue Key class.
Bunnel graduated with a bachelor's degree in international agricultural development from K-State and earned a master's degree at the University of California, Davis. Currently, she is pursuing a doctorate in security studies from K-State.
In October 2016, Bunnel returned to K-State to serve as the program coordinator for the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for the Reduction of Post-Harvest Loss, in the K-State's College of Agriculture. In December 2018, she was promoted to assistant director, the position she currently holds. The lab is a USAID-funded program that seeks to reduce post-harvest loss in developing countries through cutting-edge research and the development of low-cost technologies and practices in the areas of drying, storage and mycotoxin contamination. She works directly to combat global poverty and food insecurity through reducing losses that smallholder farmers face on-farm and in their homes and making those foods safer and more economically valuable.
In her personal and professional roles, Bunnel emulates the Blue Key motto "serving I live" each and every day. She actively gives back to the K-State and Manhattan communities through serving as a leader in the Innovation Lab community, offering guest lectures in several classes, helping with programs such as Washington-Mandela Young African Leaders Fellowship, and so much more.
Bunnel's friends and colleagues note that she is a true servant leader and is always someone that can be counted on. Bunnel continuously focuses on enhancing the community around her. Her passion for her field of study and the betterment of others is evident in all her actions.
Bunnel was recognized for modeling a true commitment to service, leadership and scholarship. She is committed to developing student leaders, and Blue Key recognizes that it is because of the legacy of outstanding alumni like Bunnel that the organization continues to thrive.