Graduate students receive JCERT scholarships for their degree programs

Monday, Aug. 26, 2019

OLATHE — Three graduate students studying at Kansas State University's Olathe campus are being awarded scholarships for the fall 2019 academic semester.

The scholarships are made possible by the Johnson County Education Research Triangle, or JCERT.

Scholarships recipients are Christina Marquez in the veterinary biomedical science master's degree program, Amrita Mukherjee and Kristin Taylor, both in the horticulture with an emphasis in urban food systems master's degree program.

Each $4,000-$6,000 scholarship is awarded once to a qualifying student and is designed to last the entirety of their degree program.

The JCERT scholarships are funded through the commitment of Johnson County residents, who approved part of a one-eighth sales tax in 2008. The funding supports part of the campus' operations and provides scholarships for graduate students at the Olathe campus.

The scholarships make a significant difference, say past recipients.

"The JCERT scholarship has tremendously helped my academic career," said Joshua Maher, a spring 2019 JCERT scholarship recipient in the food science doctoral degree program. "As a husband and father of two, pursuing a Ph.D. in food science was a difficult financial decision. The JCERT scholarship allowed me to worry less about the financial burden of graduate school and focus my efforts on writing and research."

For one recipient, the scholarship has contributed to his success as a student and a researcher.

"The JCERT scholarship has decisively contributed to my academic success," said Konstantinos Batziakas, a spring 2019 JCERT scholarship recipient in the horticulture and natural resources doctoral degree program. "Without the financial help from JCERT, I would have certainly faced problems in covering my tuition and living expenses. Thanks to JCERT, I am relieved from the anxiety of finding extra funding, which helped me in being successful in my studies and research activities. My 4.0 GPA and my recent publication in the Journal of Food Science reflect this success."

Because the scholarship and the residents who funded it have meant so much, Batziakas is using his education and connections to give back to the community that has given to him.

"I will be eternally grateful for the assistance JCERT has provided to me," Batziakas said. "I am showing my gratitude to the Johnson County community by participating in numerous extension and outreach activities that are targeting in improving the food system of the area."

The next round of scholarships will be for the spring 2020 academic semester. Students in JCERT mission-related programs who live in Johnson County can apply for these scholarships any time before Dec. 1.

More information about the JCERT scholarships — including an application form — can be found at