Notable alumni share memories, advice for K-State students



Berit Bihl

Editor’s note: Bihl’s section is compiled from information taken from an interview for another article published on July 24. The other alumni featured in this article answered questions through interviews conducted via email and Facebook.

1. About Berit Bihl

Bihl graduated from K-State with a bachelor of fine arts in painting in 1972 and a master of arts in painting in 1979. She went on to receive her master of fine arts in sculpture from the University of Houston in 1982.

Bihl worked at a number of public and private schools in Texas and Kansas teaching art to children. Even after she retired, she continued to teach for seven more years at Devereux, Texas, a school for children with emotional and developmental challenges. In late 2009, Bihl moved back to Manhattan where she taught art to special education students at Anthony Middle School.

While she has always made art, she is now a full-time artist, working at her home studio. She has had solo and joint art shows in Sweden, Switzerland, Hawaii, Florida, Texas, Kansas and many other places.

2. Favorite memory of K-State

When she discovered she had a fear of heights, Bihl decided to overcome it by taking a mountaineering course with the ROTC at K-State, which included rappelling from a 50-foot tower on Fort Riley. Her favorite part was practicing rappelling off of West Stadium here on campus, which drew the attention of passersby. She was among the first group of women students ever to take the course.

3. Professors and instructors who inspired her

Bihl said the entire art department at K-State was wonderful and inspiring, especially Jerry Diebler, Oscar Larmer, Jack O’Shea and Ed Sturr. She made lasting friendships with many people, including Terri Schmidt, who teaches drawing and printmaking to K-State students today. In fact, Schmidt and Bihl live together now, sharing their home, their love of art and their studio space together.

4. Advice for incoming freshmen

Bihl said she feels very fortunate to be able to make a career out of art, because it is not always an easy thing to do. Not everyone has a desire to become a teacher like she did, and many people feel pressured to major in other areas, such as graphic design, for fear that their art degree will not be sufficient in the job market. Bihl offered the following two pieces of advice for students who love art:

Dual major. If you really want to study art, but think you should major in something else to help with job prospects, then do both instead having to choose. Studying art often goes hand-in-hand with other majors in unexpected ways, and by doing both you will not deny yourself the opportunity to study something you truly love.

Take an aptitude test to find out what else you’re good at. Bihl took one and found, to her surprise, that she had strengths in gardening and law. These were things she had never considered doing and, although she did not end up pursuing them, she was glad to know what other options were available to her. Again, you can find ways to use art in many fields of interest. Had she chosen to pursue gardening, for example, Bihl said she might have tried horticultural therapy. This would have allowed her to use plants as a form of art to touch people and help them overcome physical or emotional challenges.


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Shane Apple

1. Tell us a little about yourself

I graduated in 2004 with bachelor of science in mass communications with a concentration in radio and television. I’ve worked in television news, post-production houses and freelance.

After graduation, I payed my professional dues by doing some grunt work like my first job as an editor for the Good Morning Show at WFMY News 2 in Greensboro, NC working from 1 a.m. to 9 am. I moved up to a photojournalist covering stories with reporters and working solo on some of my own. News is such a fast-paced environment, and everyday was a grind. It did give me a chance to work on stories with politicians like senators, house representatives and presidential candidates. Interviewing everyday people, especially children, was hard, but the most intimidating was Lou Ferrigno (the original Hulk). The man was huge!

After I left news, I worked as a contractor for the Department of Defense at Fort Knox, Ky. This job required a secret security clearance working on projects mainly for the U.S Army. There, I worked with soldiers to create training aids, commercials, documenting ceremonies as well as visits from dignitaries from other countries. I got a chance to meet the Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, and the Army Chief of Staff, General George W. Casey Jr. More importantly, I got a chance to work every day and give back to some of the greatest Americans, the American soldiers.

After working two years at Fort Knox I moved out to Los Angeles were I am currently a freelance videographer. My work here has taken me to mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

2. What is your favorite memory of K-State?

Getting a chance to work as a producer for the student-run television news program “Manhattan Matters.” It gave me a real world environment to practice everything that I had learned before I entered the workforce. Besides my internship, it was one of the most fun, challenging and rewarding things I worked on as a student.

3. What do you miss most about Manhattan?

Purple Pride! it just doesn’t feel the same to wear my K-State shirt outside of Manhattan. People don’t look at purple the same way as K-Staters do. There is just something about walking around Manhattan with your purple.

4. Was there any particular professor or instructor who inspired you?

David McFarland was the reason I am where I am today. Dr. Mac inspired me to keep working and developing. He saw my potential and helped push me in the direction that I am today. I can say that he is one of the most influential persons in my life today. I can’t thank him enough for pointing me toward what has so far been a career that has felt more like a hobby.

5. What is your advice for incoming freshmen?

Get involved with the K-State community as soon as possible. Head down to the Union during the first week of classes and look at all of the booths set up for different activities that students can get involved in. I joined the K-State Club Lacrosse team the first day I got on campus. That provided me with friendships that will last a lifetime.

I’d also like to tell any student coming into K-State to not limit yourself to just the work your professors give you. When you leave K-State you’ll need to show a body of work to prove you’re ready. Today, a diploma is not enough. You need to show that you reach farther than your education. If you’re in journalism, start a blog about something to show that you can write on topic. If you’re in computer science, design a working application that has practical use to an everyday person that maybe your professors didn’t think of.

It’s all about making yourself stand out in the massive crowd of new graduates and people with more experience. Employers aren’t waiting for you to graduate. They’re waiting to be impressed by what you can bring to their organization that all the rest of the applicants that only walked in with just a diploma.



Eric Beikmann

1. Tell us a little about yourself

I graduated in 2000 with a dual degree — bachelor of arts in public relations and a bachelor of science in secondary education. I’ve focused my career in communications, working in both an agency and non-profit setting. Currently located in Los Angeles, I’ve worked for the American Cancer Society for 10 years and lead communications strategy for the organization’s California division.

2. What is your favorite memory of K-State?

Camaraderie with my FarmHouse fraternity brothers. My fraternity experience helped guide and shape my time at K-State by building genuine friendships and maintaining high expectations for intellectual, spiritual, moral and physical growth.

3. What do you miss most about Manhattan?

I grew up in Manhattan, and sometimes miss the slower pace of life that still offers great cultural, entertainment and recreational activities because of K-State.

4. Was there any particular professor or instructor who inspired you?

Linda Putney, adviser for The Royal Purple yearbook. As a member of her staff I was constantly inspired by her passion and enthusiasm for her craft. She demanded excellence while making the RP experience fun, memorable and educational.

5. What is your advice for incoming freshmen?

Embrace your time at K-State and take full advantage of all it has to offer. Nothing is permanent except change, so make connections, make friends and enjoy the experience because it goes by fast.



Paris Rossiter

1. Tell us a little about yourself

I graduated in 2004 with a degree in social science with an emphasis in political science. I came to K-State from Newton, Kan. While I was at K-State, I was active in the student body, holding positions in the Black Student Union, Men Against Rape Society, the Kappa Tau chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., United Black Voices Gospel Choir, the KSU Elections Committee and the Big XII Council on Black Student Government. I also served in Housing and Dining as a Multicultural Assistant, Resident Assistant and Assistant Coordinator for Apartment Living at Jardine.

Since graduating, I took an Assistant Director position at the University of Maryland in College Park, and now I serve as a Property Manager at the George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

2. What is your favorite memory of K-State?

My favorite memory at K-State has to be my wedding day! I married my best friend, Akeia Haddox-Rossiter, at All Faiths Chapel and hosted my reception in the K-State Student Union. A host of my biological family and in-laws met and celebrated with my Purple Family as Manhattan became woven into the fabric of our lives.

3. What do you miss most about Manhattan?

The thing about Manhattan, and K-State, that I miss the most is the season that you are getting ready to experience. I miss the fall semester, which symbolized a fresh start, a new crop of incoming students and the sights and sounds of college life permeating through campus at every turn. Football season doesn’t hurt either!

4. Was there any particular student, professor or instructor who inspired you?

While living and working on campus, I had the awesome opportunity to work for the Office of Diversity with Myra Gordon, Darlene Ducksworth, Mirta Chavez, and Romaine Schell. In this position I worked alongside these awesome women as they carried out the mission of the institution as it related to inclusion and education of the student body, faculty and staff. The office annually held programs, events, trainings and other special programs. The staff worked hard every day and made the mission of the office their own personal calling as well. It gave me a blueprint and an indelible impression on how I should function in the workplace.

5. Do you have any advice for incoming freshmen?

Your first semester I want you to focus on your studies, get eight hours of sleep each night and STUDY, STUDY, STUDY! Attending college is a privilege, not a right. If you don’t handle business during this semester, it will haunt you the rest of your college career. There will be plenty of time for partying. Get the grades first. Earn your spot at K-State. Go for straight As. Surround yourself with people who are doing the same thing. Spring semester, try something new! Attend a meeting, event or function that you would have never thought to before. Widen your circle of friends and associates. Enjoy college, but still STUDY, STUDY, STUDY! Seeing a pattern here?