College News

You are here: Home / College News


K-State’s College of Human Ecology recognizes 16 outstanding seniors

MANHATTAN — The College of Human Ecology at Kansas State University has recognized 16 of its graduating seniors with Outstanding Senior Awards.

The award recipients are selected from each academic area the college offers. The selections are made by faculty and are based on the students’ academic achievements, leadership, participation in service on campus and in the community, and their professional potential.

Outstanding seniors from the College of Human Ecology, all May 2007 K-State graduates, are:

Todd Heer, bachelor’s degree in dietetics, Bonner Springs. Heer was active with Kappa Omicron Nu and Phi Upsilon Omicron honor societies. He also was a member of the K-State’s Student Dietetic Association, Nutrition and Cancer Research Group and American Red Cross Club. In addition, he taught heart healthy and diabetes education classes to soldiers and dependents for the Fort Riley Red Cross. He received an Undergraduate Cancer Research Award from K-State’s Terry C. Johnson Center for Basic Cancer Research and completed a food service management internship at K-State. Heer would like to be an Army dietitian. A 2000 graduate of Leavenworth High School, he is the son of Gary and Cheri Heer.

Amanda Henriksen, bachelor’s degree in communication sciences and disorders, Courtland. Henriksen was a member of the College of Human Ecology Honors Program and a manuscript from her senior honors project was accepted for publication in the Early Childhood Education Journal. She also was a member of the College of Human Ecology Ambassadors and Kappa Omicron Nu and Phi Upsilon Omicron honor societies. She has been active in her sorority, Gamma Phi Beta, serving as president; was a member of Order of Omega Greek honorary; served as a K-State Greek ambassador; and served with the Mid-American Greek Council Association. She also was a member of K-State’s Mortar Board, Chimes and Silver Key honoraries, and was president of the K-State Student Speech Language Hearing Association. A graduate of Pike Valley High School, she is the daughter of Terry Henriksen, Courtland, and Lorri Henriksen, Concordia.

Rebekah Swafford
, bachelor’s degree in early childhood education, Emporia. Swafford is a member of the National Scholars Honor Society and the National Dean’s List. She also is a K-State honors list student. She has been president of the Early Childhood Education Interest Group and has worked at the Hoeflin Stone House Child Care Center. Swafford plans to attend graduate school at K-State. A 2003 graduate of Emporia High School, she is the daughter of Dwight and Pam Swafford.

Molly Murphy, bachelor’s degree in communication sciences and disorders, Girard. Murphy was a member of the College of Human Ecology’s Honors Program and a K-State honors list student. She also served as a College of Human Ecology ambassador and a K-State housing and dining services ambassador. She was president of Smurthwaite Scholarship/Leadership House and was a member of the K-State Student Speech Language Hearing Association and Kappa Omicron Nu honor society. In addition, she served as a tutor to Korean elementary students. She will attend graduate school at K-State to become a speech-language pathologist. A 2003 graduate of Girard High School, she is the daughter of Steve and Martha Murphy.

Jessica Weaver
, bachelor’s degree in hotel and restaurant management, Manhattan. Weaver has served as president of the Human Ecology Council. She also has been a member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars; K-State’s Hospitality Management Society; Eta Sigma Delta, the international hospitality honor society; and Kappa Omicron Nu, the national honor society for human sciences. While at K-State, Weaver received seven scholarships, including one to spend a summer studying in Spain. A 2003 graduate of Manhattan High School, she is the daughter of Jim and Judy Weaver.

Wally Walstrom
, bachelor’s degree in nutrition and exercise sciences, Marysville. Walstrom, who also graduated summa cum laude from K-State in 2005 with a bachelor’s in kinesiology, is a pole vaulter on K-State’s track and field team. He is a member of Acadia Leadership House and has received the Nina Browning, Human Ecology Telefund and the Flint Hills Classic scholarships. An honors list student at K-State, he has been accepted into Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences’ College of Osteopathic Medicine. A 2002 graduate of Marysville High School, Walstrom is the son of Cleve and Rosemary Walstrom.

Lindsay Podhajsky, bachelor’s degree in nutritional sciences, Olathe. A member of the College of Human Ecology’s Honors Program and a K-State honors list student, Podhajsky received an Undergraduate Cancer Research Award from K-State’s Terry C. Johnson Center for Basic Cancer Research and was a two-time recipient of the Gamma Sigma Delta Junior Honor Award. She has carried out basic laboratory research in omega-3 fatty acids and lung fibrosis. She also is a member of Alpha Epsilon Delta, the premedical honor society. Podhajsky will attend the University of Kansas Medical School. The daughter of Loren and Cathy Podhajsky, she is a 2003 graduate of Olathe North High School.

Julia Bonney, bachelor’s degree in interior design, Overland Park. At K-State, Bonney was involved with the student chapter of the International Interior Design Association, American Society of Interior Design and the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. She also studied abroad for a year in London and was selected for some professional internships. Bonney was the only member of her class to be certified as a LEED, or sustainable building expert, before her graduation from K-State. She will spend the summer as an intern for Perkins + Will in Chicago, then head back to K-State to earn her master’s in architecture. A 2003 graduate of Blue Valley North high School, she is the daughter of Robert Bonney and Gay Lee Ludwig-Bonney.

Amanda Barrett, bachelor’s degree in human ecology and mass communications, Topeka. Barrett is a member of Blue Key, a senior leadership honorary, and Kappa Omicron Nu, the national honor society for human sciences. She served as marketing chair of the College of Human Ecology’s 2007 travel and dining auction and was public relations chair for the 2007 All-University Open House. Barrett also served as a director and counselor for K-State’s Wildcat Warm-up program for incoming students, a campus tour guide and an intern for K-State’s new student services. In addition, she is a member of Zeta Tau Alpha sorority. Barrett has been hired by K-State as an admissions representative. A 2003 graduate of Washburn Rural High School, she is the daughter of Pete and Diane Barrett.

Rebecca Dale, bachelor’s degree in hotel and restaurant management, Ulysses. Dale has served as Telefund chair on the College of Human Ecology Council and was a campaign and student coordinator for the department of hotel, restaurant, institution management and dietetics. She has been active in her sorority, Kappa Alpha Theta, serving in several leadership positions. She is a member of Eta Sigma Delta, the international hospitality honor society, and Kappa Omicron Nu, the national honor society for human sciences. She has served an internship with Advanstar Veterinary Healthcare Communications in Baltimore, Md. Dale is a 2003 graduate of Moscow High School and the daughter of Jas and Gail Dale.

Erin Messing, bachelor’s degree in life span human development, Wellington. Messing has been the recipient of eight scholarships while at K-State. A dance minor, she was a member of the K-State Classy Cats, was active in K-State’s KanDance club and did volunteer work with children. Messing plans to seek a second bachelor’s degree in nursing and work in neonatal care and delivery. A 2003 graduate of Wellington High School, she is the daughter of Lenny Messing, Topeka, and Zenda Johnston, Wellington.

Layla Z. El-Chami, bachelor’s degree in family life and community services, Wichita. El-Chami was a member of the College of Human Ecology Honors Program and Kappa Omicron Nu, the national honor society for human sciences. She also was a K-State multicultural ambassador, serving as president; the Hispanic American Leadership Organization, serving as treasurer and vice president; and a multicultural assistant for Ford Hall and a community assistant, both through K-State housing and dining services. El-Chami has been a volunteer for the Kansas Children’s Service League and as a court appointed special advocate. She plans to pursue a master’s degree in marriage and family therapy at Friends University. A 2003 graduate of Maize High School, she is the daughter of Ziad and Sandra El-Chami.

Adam Ybarra, bachelor’s in athletic training, Wichita. Ybarra is a member of the K-State Multicultural Honor Society, a student member of the National Athletic Trainers Association and received a Minority Scholarship from the Professional Football Athletic Trainers Society. He has served as a student athletic trainer for K-State’s baseball, women’s crew and football teams. He also has served an internship with the San Diego Chargers. Ybarra plans to attend graduate school in sports administration. A 2002 graduate of Wichita High School Southeast, he is the son of Jesse and Ann Ybarra.

Theresa Kasper, bachelor’s degree in personal financial planning, Wilson. Kasper received the College of Human Ecology’s R. Jean Sego Commencement Award for leadership, service, professional potential and academic achievement. She was on the K-State’s National Collegiate Financial Planning Team, helped establish Invest-a-Cats and has been published in two professional journals. She was a member of the Human Ecology Council, president of Future Financial Planners and a Human Ecology senator for the Student Governing Association. Kasper will attend Washburn University Law School in the fall. The daughter of John and Belinda Kasper, she is a 2003 graduate of Wilson High School.

Kaycee Dragastin, bachelor’s degree in public health and nutrition, Virginia, Neb. Dragastin participated in the College of Human Ecology Honors Program. A K-State honors list student, she received a Gamma Sigma Delta Junior Honors Award of Merit and Outstanding Freshman Award. She also is a member of Kappa Omicron Nu and Phi Eta Sigma honor societies, National Society of Collegiate Scholars, K-State Pre-Pharmacy Club and K-State Pre-Dental Club. Dragastin was an active volunteer. Her work included building a fish habitat at Tuttle Creek and mentoring middle school students. A graduate of Lewiston Consolidate High School in Nebraska, Dragastin plans to continue her education to become a pharmacist.

Audra Bartlett, bachelor’s degree in apparel marketing, Rochester, N.Y. A K-State honors list student, Bartlett was president of the Apparel Marketing and Design Alliance and coordinator of the Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers annual fashion show. A 2001 graduate of Greece Arcadia High School in Rochester, she is the daughter of Jeff Bartlett and Sigrid Britton, both of Rochester.

Source: Cara Richardson, 785-532-3360, cmr@humec.ksu.edu
News release prepared by: Jane Marshall, 785-532-1519, jpm2@k-state.edu

This entry was posted on Tuesday, May 15th, 2007 and is filed under Congratulations.



Contact Us

Contact Information

College of Human Ecology
Kansas State University
119 Justin Hall
Manhattan, Kansas 66506
+1 (785) 532-5500

Connect With Us

  • Site Feeds
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Flickr
  • YouTube
  • Vimeo
  • Delicious