Alumni Fellows share experiences, advice with next generation of K-Staters

K-State Alumni Communications

Alumni Fellow Brooks Barta ’93, ’97 speaks to a group of education students on campus. (Photo: Ashley Pauls)

Every student remembers a favorite teacher — someone who encouraged them, pushed them to succeed, and believed in them, even if no one else seemed to.

That’s the kind of teacher Brooks Barta ’93, ’97 encouraged Kansas State University education majors to become, during a presentation on campus. Barta is a math instructor and head football coach at Holton High School in Holton, Kansas, and is one of the 12 Alumni Fellows this year. The Alumni Fellows program — which is sponsored by the K-State Alumni Association, the Office of the President and the Deans Council — brought distinguished K-State alumni back to campus April 6-8, allowing them to share their experiences and advice with current students.  

Barta was the 2016 Alumni Fellow for the College of Education. He told the education majors that during their careers, they would have opportunities to make a difference in the lives of their students by supporting them when they felt discouraged or even correcting them if they made poor choices.

“I think as a teacher, you have to speak honestly, and you have to speak from your heart,” he said. 

Alumni Fellow Steve Goll ’88 participates in a Q&A session with students during his time on campus. (Photo: Ashley Pauls)
Steve Goll ’88, a director of research and development for Tyson Foods Inc. and Alumni Fellow from the Graduate School, also had a chance to visit with students and share his career advice. To find success as a researcher, Goll recommended students get involved in their field and network with other professionals to help their research gain traction.

“It’s important to get out there and actively participate,” he said. “It’s awkward. Swallow your pride, and have some topics of conversation ready. It’s amazing how sometimes you click with someone. That might be someone you want to go and work with.”

That’s advice Jo Kimbell ’73 could also relate to. Kimbell is the 2016 Alumni Fellow for the College of Human Ecology and is a senior specialist in aircraft interior design at Textron Aviation. She said she was “scared to death” when she came to college and started her career, but K-State started her on the path to success.

“I never had any regrets from choosing interior design as my major or my career,” she said. “I was determined then, and I’m determined now.”

Alumni Fellow Jo Kimbell ’73 shares about her experiences in aircraft interior design. (Photo: Ashley Pauls)
She encouraged students to keep an open mind and always look for ways to expand their knowledge. 

“Till this day, I still learn something new,” she said. “You’re never too old to learn something new.”

Tim de Noble, dean of the College of Architecture, Planning and Design, said the Alumni Fellows program is a wonderful opportunity for students to learn from successful professionals and also to celebrate the achievements of K-State alumni.

“The great thing about the Alumni Fellows program is we get to see experts in the field and discipline, in our college, who can share their experiences, and we get to honor those alumni,” he said.

Learn more about the Alumni Fellows program, or view a complete list of the 2016 Alumni Fellows.  

K-State Alumni Association
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