Graduate food science program at K-State Olathe hires first faculty member, prepares for fall launch

Friday, June 21, 2013

by Kristi Northcutt

Kansas State University Olathe's new graduate-level food science program, to be launched this fall, has its first faculty member.

According to Jackie Spears, K-State Olathe associate dean, Sara Gragg will serve as an assistant professor of food science at K-State Olathe. The food science program is part of the university's department of animal sciences and industry in the College of Agriculture.

Gragg comes to K-State Olathe from Texas Tech University, where she was a postdoctoral research scientist in food safety and food microbiology. Her research has included preharvest and postharvest settings, reduction of salmonella in the food supply, identification of high-risk tissues and their potential association with pathogen carriage in cattle, and the beef industry.

She earned a doctorate in animal science and a master's in food science, both from Texas Tech University. Her undergraduate work was in food science and technology at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where she also served as a food microbiology lab technician.

Gragg has extensive experience with FFA, agricultural education and K-12 programming.

"We are very fortunate and pleased to have Dr. Gragg join our team at K-State Olathe," Spears said. "Her skills and experience in teaching and research bring excitement to the launch of our food science program on the campus."

"Education and research in food science have long been areas of excellence at Kansas State University," said Ken Odde, head of the department of animal sciences and industry. "We are pleased to be able to add faculty and offer graduate education in food science at K-State Olathe."

The Master of Science in food science program is open for applications for admission, with the program beginning at the K-State Olathe campus in the fall semester. For more information, contact program coordinator Matt Maciel at 913-307-7349 or

Kansas State University Olathe advances the mission of Kansas State University by integrating education, research and entrepreneurship, focused on animal health, food safety and security, to meet the needs of a rapidly changing world.