April 26, 2022
Thurston Named Assistant Dean for College of Ag Graduate Programs
Jeanette Thurston, Ph.D., has been named assistant dean for Graduate Programs and Faculty Development for the Kansas State University College of Agriculture. In this role, she will work alongside the associate dean of Research and Graduate Studies to ensure the success of graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, and new faculty across the College of Agriculture. She will provide leadership to the Preparing Leaders in Agriculture: Navigating for Success (PLANS) program. The PLANS program will provide mentoring and professional development to cultivate a sense of community, awareness of inclusion and diversity, and belonging among graduate students and postdoctoral researchers. As a part of the PLANS program, she will coordinate the graduate student events, onboard graduate students, coordinate a new graduate student seminar program, and manage the College of Agriculture Graduate Student Teaching and Research Award and Scholarship programs. In addition, she will serve as the advisor for a new College of Agriculture graduate student council, and assist in building teams to seek research grants.
“The needs of graduate students in the College of Agriculture seem to have grown during the COVID crisis and the related slowdown of research,” said Martin Draper, associate dean of Research and Graduate Studies. “That situation really highlighted the stresses that graduate students feel and emphasized how the college can be more involved in making their experience more positive. Dr. Thurston brings a skill set that is well suited to that need.”
Thurston will continue to serve as director of the Food Science Institute, a position she assumed in 2019. In this role, she coordinates a cross-disciplinary team of faculty and staff from across five colleges to support research; undergraduate, graduate and online education; and food industries.
Before coming to K-State, Thurston spent 18 years at the United States Department of Agriculture. Her most recent position was serving as the agency’s science program officer for the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture where she provided leadership to the agency’s science portfolio, and budget.
“I am passionate about ensuring that our graduate students and postdoctoral researchers have the support and tools needed to be successful, not only while at K-State but also in their future careers.” said Thurston. “Our students and postdocs are the backbone of our college’s research enterprise, dedicated to problem-solving and innovation, and key to our ability to carry out the land-grant mission. I am honored to serve the college in this capacity.”
Thurston will report to the dean of the College of Agriculture and will work closely with the associate dean for Research and Graduate Programs, and the director for Extension.