Student and faculty member honored for their academic, scientific contributions

Wednesday, May 18, 2022 | Written by Greg Tammen

K-State Olathe's winners of graduate awards.

A former faculty member and graduate student receive awards at the annual Graduate Student Awards and Recognition Reception. From left to right: Gary Anderson, former director of the Animal Health and Food Safety Institute; Jackie Spears, interim CEO and dean of K-State Olathe; and Emily Kohlhepp, graduate of the Professional Science Master in Applied Biosciences program.


OLATHE — A graduate student and recently retired faculty member are being recognized for their academic pursuits and scientific contributions by the School of Applied and Interdisciplinary Studies at Kansas State University's Olathe campus.

Emily Kohlhepp, a graduate student in the Professional Science Master in Applied Biosciences degree program, and Gary Anderson, the former director of the Animal Health and Food Safety Institute, were recently honored at the annual Graduate Student Awards and Recognition Reception, which was held at the K-State Alumni Association in April.

Kohlhepp received the Outstanding Graduate Student Award from the School of Applied and Interdisciplinary Studies. The award recognizes the on- or off-campus accomplishments and contributions by a student in K-State Olathe's PSM program.

"Emily's biggest strengths are her perseverance and intellectual curiosity," said Rebekkah Stuteville, assistant dean of academic support services, teaching associate professor and director of the professional science master's degree program. "She has demonstrated a keen ability to connect academic theory to industry-relevant practice in the food industry. Emily has the potential to become a leader in any area she plans to pursue professionally or academically."

Kohlhepp, a working professional who completed the PSM program requirements in a short window of time, has recently completed her capstone project under the direction of Justin Kastner, associate professor of food safety and security in the Department of Diagnostic Medicine/Pathobiology in the College of Veterinary Medicine. Her capstone leverages and blends the advanced food safety and food security knowledge with the professional skills she learned in the program.

Anderson received the Outstanding Graduate Faculty Award for his excellence in serving as a committee member for students earning their PSM degree.

Anderson, who retired in 2020, brought a unique and valuable perspective to student capstone projects because of his history in the animal health field and working in industry, said Paige Adams, teaching assistant professor of diagnostic medicine. His insight into navigating particular challenges in the animal health resonated with students whose capstones focused on solving a problem in the animal health industry.

"Dr. Anderson's background and experiences that allow him to relate to the graduate students in the Professional Science Master program at K-State Olathe are a major strength," said Adams, who recommended Anderson for the award. "His commitment and constant encouragement to graduate students has been outstanding, and he provides similar support to fellow faculty members, which is greatly appreciated and valued."

The School of Applied and Interdisciplinary Studies at K-State Olathe offers academic programs and applied research that address industry needs in the food, animal health and related sectors. The PSM degree, which is offered through the school, has tracks in animal health and food safety and security, and combines advanced scientific concepts in those fields with professional skills so graduates can manage or supervise a laboratory, unit or business.