K-State Olathe Hosts Record Number of GRAs, Welcomes Fulbright Scholar

February 16, 2024

Fulbright scholar, Dr. Laura Stan

Fulbright scholar, Dr. Laura Stan, studied consumer response to flavored honey as well as its health benefits at K-State Olathe's Sensory and Consumer Research Center.


This year, Kansas State University Olathe is expanding its focus to meet the demands of graduate research assistants (GRAs) who want to conduct research close to Kansas City. K-State Olathe’s research facilities, funded by the Johnson County Education Research Triangle, are a hub for the advancement of animal health, food science, aquaponics, data analytics, consumer and sensory research and more.

The campus welcomed 17 GRAs for the 2023-2024 school year. K-State Olathe also had its largest number of international GRAs this year.

Campus Welcomes Fulbright Scholar

In addition to this year’s record-setting number of GRAs, K-State Olathe recently welcomed Fulbright scholar Laura Stan, Ph.D., to campus. Stan, an associate professor in sensory analysis of foods from the University of Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary Medicine of Cluj-Napoca, Romania, chose K-State Olathe to further her food nutrition research.

While Stan could have chosen many institutions for her research endeavors, she opted for K-State Olathe because of its sensory research focus, corporate partnerships and, of course, students. The campus integrates these three elements to provide a place where opportunities for learning and collaboration are everywhere, Stan said.

Stan worked in the campus' Sensory and Consumer Research Center to closely study consumer response to honey flavors. She recognizes that consumer honey is an underused health tool and hopes to see more shoppers reaching for honey jars in the future.

During her time at the Olathe campus, Stan presented a sensory tasting called “From Bees to Bliss” and taught both in-person and virtual attendees about honey flavors and how use of this bee product can provide health benefits for many ailments, including gastrointestinal conditions, burns and coughs.

Stan’s bee expertise extends beyond honey. She began her journey into bee research by studying propolis – a resin-like material made by bees from the buds of poplar and cone-bearing trees – known for a variety of uses, including healing properties. While many bee enthusiasts are passionate about honey products, many are still unfamiliar with propolis.

“You can use propolis tincture on a wound to speed the healing process,” Stan explained. “It’s also a very good anti-insect repellant. If you go on a picnic, for example, and you don’t want to attract ants or mosquitoes, propolis is a great deterrent.”

Learn more about the Sensory and Consumer Research Center at K-State Olathe