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Running Receives Outstanding Service Award

Genetics and Bioinformatics doctoral student Kat Running was selected by the NDSU Volunteer Network as the 2021 Sarah Martinsen Outstanding Service Award winner.

May 11, 2021

The NDSU Volunteer Network selected Katherine Running as the 2021 Sarah Martinsen Outstanding Service Award winner. The annual award honors Sarah Martinsen, an NDSU student who passed away in 2010 while on her first Students Today Leaders Forever Pay It Forward Tour in Pensacola, Florida. Martinsen was known for her passion to serve.

Nominees for the award must demonstrate citizenship, civic engagement, and volunteer service that positively impacts the community and shows a commitment to the world around them. The recipient receives a scholarship to apply to their academic studies. Running was presented with the award at the Bison Leader Awards on April 28, 2021.

Running, who is from Eau Claire, Wisconsin, is a doctoral student in the College Teaching Certificate program and the Genomics and Bioinformatics program and is advised by Justin Faris, USDA-ARS cereal crops research geneticist. She earned her B.S. in Biology from American University, along with a Certificate in Leadership and Ethical Development. Her resume of volunteer activities includes teaching, community service, and selfless acts of kindness.

Running volunteered to teach two lab sections of the Genetics 315 course, although a teaching module was not required for her degree. She also arranged small-group study sessions beyond the lab time and classroom. Rebekah Oliver, associate professor of practice and the Genetics 315 course instructor, said that Running “demonstrated enthusiasm, leadership, and a commitment to go the extra mile to support her students’ learning.”

Running is active in the Plant Sciences Graduate Student Association and has served as president and vice president. Wanting to make it possible for all interested Plant Sciences graduate students to travel to a symposium, she coordinated several fundraising events. She also mentors graduate students who are new to the department. “Her desire to be inclusive and lift others up shines through,” said Shannon Ueker, Department of Plant Sciences administrative secretary and graduate student liaison. 

Running’s desire to inspire young learners to develop an interest in the sciences is seen in her community outreach activities, including being a STEM education volunteer for Girl Scouts Dakota Horizons and collaborating with peers to develop an NDSU Avenues of Scientific Discovery booth to explain crop domestication to middle and high school students.

In addition, Running gives her time to foster and raise kittens as young as three days old for Homeward Animal Shelter. “They came to me blind and tiny, completely reliant on my care, but grew into curious, playful, cuddly future family members,” says Running.

After completing her Ph.D., Running would like to lead a lab at a research university, where she can teach and mentor students in the lab and the classroom. “I am interested in teaching genetics and genomics courses using evidence-based, active learning strategies, project-based learning, and computational labs,” she says.

Author: Kamie Beeson, 
Editor: Karen Hertsgaard, 

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