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Alumni News


A Tribute to all Working Adults Pursuing Education

K-State Global Campus alumni, “Bev” Beverly Jean Schmutz, 79, of Abilene, KS, passed away on Dec. 8, 2019. While working full time and raising a son, Beverly worked to complete her bachelor’s degree which she did in 1987 through distance education from K-State. K-State Global Campus featured Beverly’s story of perseverance in the Spring/Summer 2016 Link Magazine along with a poem she wrote about not giving up on your dream of an education. 

In honor of Beverly and all adults juggling work, family and education, we reprint here, Beverly’s poem and her last words in the article: “Anything you want bad enough, if you work for it, you can have it,” she said. “I think where a lot of people fall down is when they don’t believe. You have to believe in your heart that you can do it.”

You can read the original story at global.k-state.edu/students/alumni/docs/link-magazine-sp-su-16.pdf on page seven.


My Path

A poem by Beverly Schmutz, 1987 graduate of K-State, (1940-2019)

Once upon a time, I had not finished my school
I am a mom and worked at the Fort, but felt the fool
Several attempts to get a college degree
But I let living life interfere, oh don’t you see
Then one day putting fear of failure aside,
I headed to KSU, enrolled, and classes did abide
It was as though a new world opened up for me
Knowing with help the impossible no longer to be
Today I stand back and gaze at the times long ago
Wondering how to thank those who helped me so
I think the best way is to share what all they have done
How they encouraged, guided and directed until I won
Now my degree hangs proudly on my study wall
Sometimes I share the years I spent, and I stand tall
It wasn’t easy and days back then were hard, ‘tis true
But is possible, and want you to know it’s open for you.



Luke Chavez, a K-State graduate with a master’s in food science in 2018 and feature subject in Link magazine, was promoted to Senior Manager of Research and Innovation for Coffee House Creations with Danone North America in the fall of 2019. 



Heather Arentz, a K-State graduate with a master’s in food science in 2018 and feature subject in Link magazine, was promoted to Senior Research Scientist Chocolate Product Development at The Hershey Company in the fall of 2019.



Kristina McAllister, a 2018 graduate of Global Campus' Master of Agribusiness program, received one of Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences Outstanding Alumni Awards. She was named one of two Outstanding Recent Alumnae, which honors alumni who have graduated within the past 10 years.

McAllister serves as regional lending manager for AgChoice Farm Credit, Pennsylvania’s largest agricultural lender. She began her career with AgChoice in 2010 as a credit analyst. In her current role, she manages three branch offices serving 14 counties in Pennsylvania with a total loan portfolio of $444 million. In addition, she supervises 14 lending team members.

McAllister completed the K-State MAB program while working full time, and was recently honored by AgChoice with the President's Award for her leadership in the organization.



Allan Sicat, Global Campus’ first alumni fellow in 2011, has joined PureForge, a leader in the innovation and commercialization of high-performance vehicles brakes, as its Chief Operating Officer. Sicat previously worked as president and owner of Carousel Designs and is a 2003 graduate of the online Master of Engineering Management program at K-State.



Sara Daniel Comer, a 2017 graduate with a master’s in academic advising, recently received the 2018 Care and Compassion Award from Labette Center for Mental Health for her work with military students and veterans. Comer works for Labette Community College as an advisor and military-connected student services coordinator.

She chose K-State’s online academic advising while working on Fort Riley as a career counselor, desiring to combine her social work background with work to benefit service members.



 Sara Trattles, spring 2019 graduate from K-State’s Master of Agribusiness program, received a scholarship from the Great Lakes Fruit, Vegetable and Farm Market Expo in Grand Rapids, Michigan, for her final semester.

The scholarships are presented by the Michigan Vegetable Council and the Michigan State Horticultural Society and are made possible by sponsorships from several industry publications. Trattles works for GreenStone Farm Credit Services as well as farms with her husband in southern Michigan.



Tyrell Fickenscher, a 2012 graduate from K-State’s Master of Agribusiness program, was selected for the Nebraska Farm Bureau’s 2019 Leadership Academy, a year-long program designed to cultivate the talents and strengths of Farm Bureau members and connect their passion for agriculture to opportunities of service within the organization.

Fickenscher and his wife started Upward Ag Systems, which aims to help farmers adopt technology focusing on irrigation management and data analysis.



Amanda Frey, a 2017 graduate with a master’s in family studies and human services with an emphasis in youth development, was honored with a LIFE award from WPLG-TV Local 10 Miami/Fort Lauderdale for her work in education.

Frey received the award specifically for her work with Take Stock in Children of Broward County. In her role as executive director, she created an innovative curriculum and implemented the program, raising high school graduate rates from 89 percent to 100 percent and an increase in college enrollment from 69 percent to 96 percent.



Crystal Bashford, current student in the early childhood education master’s program, received the Continued Excellence Award from the National Extension Association of family and Consumer Sciences at the group’s 2018 national meeting in San Antonio, Texas.

Bashford works as an extension agent for Morton County in Elkhart, Kansas, and has implemented several programs aimed at youth in the area.



Derek Lawson, 2018 graduate with a doctorate in personal financial planning, co-authored a paper that won Best Theoretical Research Paper at the 2017 Financial Planning Association’s annual conference in Nashville, Tennessee.



Jennifer Rabung, 2018 graduate with a bachelor’s in dietetics from Mechanicsville, Virginia, received an outstanding senior award in leadership from the K-State College of Human Ecology in the fall of 2018. The Leadership Award is given to a graduating seinor who has exhibited excellence in leadership, as well as contributed to campus, college, program and/or professional organizations.



Kaitlyn Cherry, 2018 graduate with a bachelor’s in human development and family science with a minor in conflict analysis and trauma studies, gave a presentation to Global Campus and other K-State staff in October, titled “Living Life by the Seat of My Pants.”

Cherry lost her vision at age 9 due to glaucoma and a genetic eye condition called Axenfeld-Rieger syndrome. Having completed her bachelor’s degree, Cherry plans to return to school and pursue a master’s in couples and family therapy from K-State.



Miranda Reiter, doctoral student in personal financial planning, was among four Certified Financial Planners to be awarded the Financial Planning Association Diversity Scholarship. Recipients of the merit-based award are professionals who are working to encourage diversity in the financial planning profession, serving diverse communities with financial planning and increasing the professional opportunities for diverse communities within the industry.

Reiter is a financial advisor with USAA, based in Tampa, Florida, and is an active volunteer within her community, working to provide financial education for the elderly, women and girls, college students, African-Americans, military communities and more.