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Archive for June, 2012

Growing up on a farm in Cedar, Kan., near Smith Center, Steve Kirchhoff always envisioned that he’d attend Kansas State University and study veterinary medicine. It was the thing to do, the place to be. Being a farm kid from Smith County near the Kansas-Nebraska border, he rarely entertained the possibility of taking a different path — until a friend invited him to the K-State College of Engineering’s open house weekend and his eyes were opened to a new world.

Where’d he end up?

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It’s a frosty December evening in 1980 in Manhattan, Kan. A roving cohort of Kansas State University chemical engineering students embark on an adventure to deliver holiday cheer by singing Christmas carols on the front porches at their professors’ homes.

Laughter and liveliness ensues as the professors endure the slightly off-key renditions of familiar classics, and then encourage their pupils to keep at their studies and earn their degrees — because their collective future as singers isn’t nearly as bright as the lights that adorn the town during the holidays.

According to two of the singing engineers, Susan and Spencer Tholstrup, it was good advice.

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Read more of “Engineering excellence at K-State.”

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Drawing on passion

I recently had the opportunity to contribute an article to Manhattan Magazine, a profile of local artist Brent Engstrom. Brent is a budding illustrator/graphic designer who turned his childhood fascination with those nasty “Garbage Pail Kids” into a career drawing them, among other figures, including his own characters “Monkeyboy” and “Billy Blevins: Boy Inventor.”

I remember how repulsive the Garbage Pail Kids were, yet I couldn’t help poring over the bizarre images. I preferred baseball cards. Check out the summer issue of Manhattan Magazine — the Engstrom story is on page 18 — or you may open a PDF of the story here.

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