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College of Engineering

Academic Success Center
1093 Fiedler Hall
1701C Platt St.
Manhattan, KS 66506

Fiedler Learning Commons Hours
Monday - Thursday:
8 a.m. - 11 p.m.
Friday: 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Saturday: 1-5 p.m.
Sunday: 1-11 p.m.

About Us

Bette Grauer, Ph.D., P.E.

Assistant DeanPhoto of Bette Grauer

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.

Mackenzie Blakeslee

Academic Success Center Coordinator Photo of Mackenzie Blakeslee

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 mackie09@k-state.edu for questions about the Academic Success Center and Alumni Mentor Program.

Emily Dringenberg, Ph.D.

Teaching Assistant ProfessorPhoto of Emily Dringenberg
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. Dringenburg at dringenberg@k-state.edu.

Sujatha Prakash

Photo of Sujatha PrakashSTEM 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 sujatha@k-state.edu.

Jennifer Thornburg

Retention CoordinatorPhoto of Jennifer Thornburg

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 jen20@k-state.edu.

Mary Vesper, M.S.

Photo of Mary VesperAdvising Coordinator

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 mvesper@k-state.edu.