Distinguished Young Alumni

The Distinguished Young Alumni program is in its eleventh year. It recognizes two Kansas State University graduates who are excelling in their professions and contributing to their communities.

The program is sponsored by the K-State Alumni Association’s board of directors and Student Alumni Board. We encourage you to honor your outstanding graduates by nominating them for this award.

Submit a nomination

2024 Recipients 

The K-State Alumni Association is proud to announce the recipients of our 2024 Distinguished Young Alumni Award: Jill Applegate '16 and Tera Rooney Barnhardt '12, '14, '15.

Stream the live keynote speeches on Tuesday, March 5:
• Jill Applegate at 3:30 p.m.
• Tera Rooney Barnhardt at 4:30 p.m.

Livestream feed

Headshot of Jill Applegate

Jill Applegate '16

Applegate is a Skadden Fellow at the Neighborhood Defender Service. She earned two bachelor's degrees from K-State in modern languages and political science in 2016. Additionally, Applegate earned a juris doctor from the University of Texas at Austin.

Headshot of Tera Rooney Barnhardt

Tera Rooney Barnhardt '12, '14, '15

Barnhardt is a veterinarian focused on animal welfare research and consulting. She earned three degrees from K-State, a bachelor's degree in animal science and industry in 2012, a doctor of veterinary medicine in 2014 and a master’s degree in biomedical science in 2015.


Headshot of John Grice

John Grice '12

Annual Giving Manager
Barack Obama Foundation
Watch Keynote Presentation

Headshot of Kelsie Salazar

Kelsie Ball Salazar '11

Registered nurse care coordinator - education
University of Kansas Medical Center
Watch Keynote Presentation

Sruthi Narayanan

Sruthi Narayanan '11, '15

Assistant Professor of Crop Physiology
Clemson University
Watch Keynote Presentation

James E. Millsap Jr.

James E. Millsap Jr. '11

Manager of Inclusion and Diversity Strategy
DICK’s Sporting Goods Inc.
Watch Keynote Presentation

Jamie Ball

Dr. Jamie Ball '10

Golden Valley Memorial Healthcare
Watch Keynote Presentation

Kristine Davis

Kristine Davis '15

xEMU Space Suit Engineer
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
Watch Keynote Presentation

Sarah Sexton-Bowser

Sarah Sexton-Bowser '08

Managing Director
K-State's Center for Sorghum Improvement
Watch Keynote Presentation

Mindy McBee

Mindy McBee '12

Strategic Accounts Sales Leader
Watch Keynote Presentation

Charley Cull

Dr. Charley Cull '12, '14, '16

Veterinarian, Clinical Research Associate, Director of Stocker and Grazing Cattle
Midwest Veterinary Services, Central States Research Centre Inc., Veterinary Biomedical Research Center Inc.
Watch Keynote Presentation

Kale Monk

Kale Monk PhD '10, '13

Assistant Professor, State Extension Specialist 
Center for Policy and Family Research Fellow at the University of Missouri
Watch Keynote Presentation

Megan McCall

Megan McCall '08, '11

Remote on-call Bridge Coordinator 
Rose Brooks Center’s Bridge Program
Watch Keynote Presentation

Bryce Huschka

Bryce Huschka '07

Area Manager
Watch Keynote Presentation

Dalton Henry

Dalton Henry '07

Director of Policy
U.S. Wheat Associates
Watch Keynote Presentation

Jorge Mendoza

Jorge Mendoza '10

STEM exploration program manager 
The Ohio State University
Watch Keynote Presentation

Kourtney Bettinger

Dr. Kourtney Bettinger '06

Physician and pediatric resident 
University of Colorado School of Medicine
Watch Keynote Presentation

Clemente Jaquez

Clemente Jaquez '08

Design director
Hoefer Wysocki Architecture
Watch Keynote Presentation

Corey Fortin

Corey Fortin '06

United States Foreign Service
United States Agency for International Development in Uganda
Watch Keynote Presentation

Matt King

Matt King '07

Fund analyst
World Bank Group
Watch Keynote Presentation

Molly Hamm

Molly Hamm '10

Planning and research coordinator
The DREAM Project

Matt Wolters

Matt Wolters '03

Co-founder and co-owner
SureFire Ag Systems Inc.

Nick Piper

Nick Piper '08

Founder and CEO
Phoria Energy Solutions

Justine Sterling

Justine Sterling '07

Director of alumni relations
George W. Bush Presidential Center