Connected ‘Cats bring K-State experience to local communities

Published: Sep. 27, 2022 at 10:03 AM CDT
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MANHATTAN, Kan. (WIBW) - A new group of Connected ‘Cats will bring their K-State experiences to local communities during in-state visits.

Kansas State University says members of a new group of student leaders have shared their K-State stories around the Sunflower State. It said the Connected ‘Cats is a new class of students who provide leadership during the presidential community visits.

K-State noted that the presidential initiative focuses on Kansans and their communities. Each school year, it said it visits nine communities throughout the state to listen and learn from those who live there.

The university indicated that the next community visit is planned for Tuesday, Sept. 27, in Ford Co.

K-State indicated that the student experience is a crucial piece of the community visits and Connected ‘Cats lead the way and connect with communities in a few different ways before, during and after the visits. The group has a diverse range of K-State experiences, a meaningful connection to engaged community work and personal ties to the geographic regions for this year’s community visits.

“Highlighting the student experience is central to each of the community visits,” said Jeff Ebeck, senior in finance and economics, of Wellsville. “Allowing students to authentically tell their stories in their own hometowns is how we continue to build or connect within each community.”

K-State noted that the Connected ‘Cats attend weekly classes through the Staley School of Leadership. It said the class is taught by Ebeck, Mary Tolar, dean of the Staley School and Mary Lynn and Warren Staley, chair for leadership, and Emily Lehning, director of the presidential regional community visit initiative.

“The class is filled with great energy as students reflect on their experiences, learn more about the university’s mission and activities, and develop new skills,” Tolar said. “Witnessing the depth of connection and commitment our students have to both K-State and their home communities is inspiring.”

During the planning and implementation of the visits, K-State indicated that the Connected ‘Cats serve in one of two roles - student event leaders and student engagement leaders.

For each visit, the university said student event leaders play an active role in planning and implementing all community visits throughout the fall and spring semesters. They engage campus and community partners to develop and deliver preparation to the team, provide logistical support and serve as event day facilitators.

“Our Connected ‘Cats student leaders add a tremendous amount of value to our planning and implementation,” Lehning said. “In the process, the students also gain valuable skills in event planning, facilitation, communication and problem-solving. They are essentially putting into practice the skills they are learning in their K-State degree programs.”

K-State noted that the following students were chosen as event and engagement leaders for the 2022-2023 year:

  • Marissa Ramirez, senior in construction science and management, Dodge City
  • Citlali Real, sophomore in architecture, Dodge City
  • Tram Pham, senior in accounting and finance, Garden City
  • Jade Valdez-Gomez, junior in dietetics, both from Garden City
  • Jaye Hrencher, junior in marketing, Hiawatha
  • Reagan Riley, senior in human development and family science, Hiawatha
  • Mark Estares, master’s student in accounting and finance, Junction City
  • Rosa Cano, junior in human resources management, Kansas City
  • and Malik Jenkins, senior in life science and pre-veterinary medicine, Kansas City
  • Avanelle Stoltz, junior in biological systems engineering, Leawood
  • Stacia Mendoza, senior in finance, Lenexa
  • Joshua Diazdeleon, senior in elementary education, Liberal
  • Alycen Berridge, senior in elementary education, Nickerson
  • Kady Figge, junior in agricultural communications and journalism, Onaga
  • Camden Mayfield, senior in mechanical engineering, Overland Park
  • Ethan Brown, junior in marketing, Salina
  • Adelaide Easter, sophomore in bakery science and management and food science and industry, Salina
  • Gage Roberts, master’s student in regional & community planning, all from Salina
  • Parker Reagan Vulgamore, senior in agricultural economics and pre-law, Scott City
  • Tyler Burns, junior in accounting, Topeka
  • Mackenzie Waggoner, junior in agricultural communications and journalism, Topeka
  • Kaleo Vincent, senior in athletic training and rehabilitation sciences, Valley Center
  • Christopher Burrell, senior in mechanical engineering, Wichita
  • Totty Norwood, sophomore in English, Wichita
  • Svea Knight, senior in dietetics, Grafton, Massachusetts
  • Dakota Cherney, senior in journalism and mass communications, Chester, Nebraska;
  • Colleen Fulton, junior in psychology and sociology, Loup City, Nebraska.