Bette Grauer, Ph.D., P.E.
Dr. Grauer is the assistant dean for Retention, Diversity and Inclusion for the College of Engineering at Kansas State University. She administers Academic Success Center programs, including Scholars Assisting Scholars Tutoring, Women in Engineering, Multicultural Engineering, First-Year Engineering and Engineering Outreach Programs. She serves as adviser for Society of Women Engineers and co-PI for the Kansas Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation.
Prior to joining Kansas State, Dr. Grauer worked as a professional engineer with positions in government, industry and consulting. She specialized in hydrology and hydraulics, including dam design, breach analysis, and open channel design. Her professional memberships include the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) and National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE).
Dr. Grauer holds a doctorate from Kansas State University, a master’s degree from Wichita State University and bachelor's degrees in civil engineering and physics education from Kansas State. She is originally from McPherson, Kansas.
Andy Fund is the assistant dean for Student Services in the College of Engineering at Kansas State University. He oversees and administers academic programs and policies, including graduation and graduation checks, new student orientation and enrollment, course and curriculum updates, curriculum changes, study abroad approvals, transfer credit evaluations, DARS updates and exceptions, adding/dropping courses, student absence notifications and student withdrawals.
Prior to joining Student Services, Mr. Fund was the undergraduate advisor for the department of electrical and computer engineering, where he advised more than 200 students in the areas of course selection and curriculum progression, degree requirements and audits, domestic and international transfer credit, study abroad programs, and academic and personal issues. He also led an ECE-focused engineering design project course for new students in the department. Before returning to work at K-State in 2010, he was an electrical design engineer with Garmin International in Olathe, Kansas. While at Garmin, he was responsible for developing consumer electronics equipped with GPS navigational systems for a variety of applications.
Mr. Fund received his bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in electrical engineering from Kansas State University in 2005 and 2015, respectively. His published research focuses on the microwave characteristics of thin-film transmission lines constructed on low-temp co-fire ceramics.
Mr. Fund was born and raised in Kansas. He and his wife Kim have two sons, Nick and Josh, and a dog named Buddy.
Academic Success Center Coordinator
Mackenzie Blakeslee is the Academic Success Center (ASC) coordinator for the College of Engineering. In this role, Mackenzie manages the day-to-day operations of the Academic Success Center in the Fiedler Learning Commons (FLC). She supervises the student staff, plans and schedules ASC events within the space, and develops retention and graduation data for the college. She also manages the Alumni Mentor Program.
Mackenzie is a graduate of Kansas State University with a bachelor’s degree in family studies and human services and a minor in leadership studies. During her undergraduate career at K-State, Mackenzie was involved in several student groups, as well as worked both on-campus in the biochemistry office and, later, off-campus for a property management company.
Before returning to work at K-State, she gained valuable experience in management, communications and support in her role as a property manager for a local company. Mackenzie supports students and faculty by helping to provide resources needed for their success, both academically and professionally. She is originally from Leoti, Kansas.
Contact Mackenzie at 785-532-2791 or email@example.com for questions about the Academic Success Center and Alumni Mentor Program.
Emily Dringenberg, Ph.D.
Teaching Assistant Professor
First-Year Engineering Program
Dr. Dringenberg is a teaching assistant professor for the General Engineering program within the Academic Success Center. Dr. Dringenberg teaches the general engineering courses for first-year engineering students, which focus on engineering problem solving, design and communication. She also advises students in general engineering and works to help them decide which engineering discipline is the best fit for their interests and talents. She serves as the chief faculty adviser for the engineering honorary society, Tau Beta Pi.
Dr. Dringenberg earned a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from K-State, a Master of Science in Industrial Engineering and a doctorate in Engineering Education from Purdue. Her doctoral work focused on using qualitative methods to explore the experiences of first-year students engaging with engineering design problems, and her on-going work is to develop effective, research-based introductory curriculum for her students centered on engineering problem solving and decision making. Additionally, Dr. Dringenberg's research interests include transfer of learning, growth mindset, personal epistemology, engineering ethics and design learning.
Dr. Dringenberg also has industry experience at CAT Work Tools and has taught secondary mathematics and engineering in the Atlanta Public School system. She is originally from Parsons, Kansas.
For questions about the General Engineering Program and Tau Beta Pi, contact Dr. Dringenberg at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Senior Administrative Assistant
Nancy Fisher is the senior administrative assistant for Engineering Student Services. Nancy is the primary office manager and receptionist for Student Services. She is responsible for scheduling appointments for the assistant dean of student services and director of student services for graduation checks, transfer credit evaluations, study abroad approvals, DARS updates, etc. Nancy is also responsible for processing add and drop approvals, curriculum changes, student absence letters, academic warning and dismissal notices, letters of degree completion, etc. Nancy helps coordinate and support graduation, reinstatement hearings, and orientation and enrollment events.
Nancy has had many different careers but most have involved office work in places such as schools, an audit firm and a freight hauling company. Nancy also has experience in the banking industry, retail and childcare.
Nancy was born and raised in Kansas and has three children who all live out of state.
Gina Graham is the administrative specialist for Engineering Student Services. Gina is primarily responsible for updating student academic records, coordinating graduation and verifying degree requirements, coordinating and administering orientation and enrollment events, certifying student athlete academic records, processing student withdrawals, and assisting in the college’s course and curriculum processes.
Gina has worked in many different offices across the K-State campus, some of which include Sponsored Projects, Financial Aid, Army ROTC, International Ag Programs, the Department of English, and the Department of Grain Science.
Gina was born and raised in Kansas, and has two children and a dog named Duke.
Olga N. Lease
Director of Student Services
Olga Lease is the director of student services for the College of Engineering. In this role, she provides support to students and faculty by assisting with student records issues, including transfer course evaluations, study abroad course approvals, student enrollment questions, policy clarification, and degree audits for graduation clearance. Additionally, she is responsible for the engineering flowchart system, which involves answering questions and resolving any problems reported by users, granting security access, and editing flowcharts as necessary to reflect curriculum changes.
Olga is responsible for delivering the orientation presentation during new student orientation and enrollment sessions, and assisting with the coordination of materials and logistics. She also coordinates and leads advisor training each semester for new faculty, serves as a member of the reinstatement committee, and serves as a backup for the assistant dean, attending various university committee meetings related to academics and student behavior issues in his absence.
Olga earned a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics with a computer science emphasis from the University of Northern Iowa. Before joining K-State, Olga worked as a programmer/analyst for more than 10 years for various companies, and was privileged to be a stay-at-home mom for five years for her three children. She is originally from Conrad, Iowa.
STEM Outreach Coordinator
Sujatha Prakash is the STEM Outreach Coordinator for the College of Engineering. Sujatha coordinates engineering student visits and presentations to secondary schools across the state. She creates hands-on, educational activities and trains engineering students to present engineering activities to middle and high school students. K-State engineering students work with secondary school students to develop interest and awareness about engineering. Funding for the program is provided by the generous support of BNSF Railway.
Sujatha holds a master’s degree in genetics from Kansas State University and a bachelor’s in zoology from the University of Madras, India. She is also a licensed elementary educator.
Contact Sujatha for questions about the engineering outreach program, including how to become an outreach mentor. She can be reached at email@example.com.
Jennifer Thornburg is the retention coordinator for the K-State College of Engineering. She helps supervise and organize the retention-based programs offered through the college. Her main focus is coordinating the Scholars Assisting Scholars (SAS) Tutoring and the Women in Engineering (WiE) programs. In this role, she trains and supervises organizes SAS tutors, and organizes Women in Engineering activities and peer mentors. Jennifer also helps with enrollment, advising and orientation of incoming freshmen and transfer students.
Jennifer is a graduate of Kansas State with bachelor’s degrees in nutrition and kinesiology. Throughout her undergraduate career, she worked in Student Services helping with the enrollment process for the College of Engineering.
For questions about SAS and the Women in Engineering program, contact Jennifer at 785-532-3331 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mary Vesper, M.S.
Mary Vesper is the advising coordinator for the Academic Success Center. She works with engineering students primarily in relation to academic retention. She meets with students across all engineering departments, helping them to navigate academic, personal and career resources. She created the Building Excellent Engineers (BEE) program, which involves academic peer-to-peer mentoring. The purpose of the BEE program is to provide academic support and teach strategies that will lead to successful outcomes. Mary trains mentors to work with peers on how to balance their schedules, manage their time, and set academic and personal goals. Mary advises students in general engineering and teaches a general engineering seminar, which focuses on the first-year student transition to the university/college and growth mindset principles.
Mary holds a master’s degree in special education from Nova Southeastern University and a bachelor’s degree in exercise and sport sciences from the University of Florida. She has completed all doctoral coursework in education at Florida State University. She has completed certification programs in administration leadership and educational diagnostician, and holds current K-12 teacher licensures from Florida and Texas.
Mary previously worked as an educational diagnostician and as a learning specialist developing academic retention programs for at-risk student athletes at Texas Tech University. She has worked more than 10 years in higher education, and has more than 10 years of teaching and coaching experience at all levels within regular and special education in the public school system. Her concentration and passion has been to assist all students with proactive measures for successful completion of their academic goals. She is originally from Deland, Florida.
For general engineering advising questions, academic concerns or resources, please contact Mary at 785-532-2794 or email@example.com.