Growing up as a self-described “hybrid farm-kid,” Dr. Kim Williams was raised in Great Bend, Kansas, but assisted her family on her grandparents’ farm. She graduated from Kansas State University with her B. S. in Horticulture in 1988, then completed graduate work at North Carolina State University in 1995, earning M.S. and Ph.D. degrees with Dr. Paul Nelson. Williams’ first position was as an Assistant Professor at the University of Illinois until 1997 when she returned to Kansas State University as a member of the faculty. She has a 60% teaching and 40% research appointment, and was promoted to the rank of Professor in 2006.
Dr. Williams’ classes provide extensive opportunities for hands-on production. In HORT 570 Greenhouse Operations Management, her students produce poinsettias as part of a national trialing program (www.ksre.ksu.edu/poinsettias). In HORT 600 Herbaceous Ornamental Landscape Plant Production, students produce annuals and perennials for the KSU campus and KSU Gardens.
Williams’ expertise on plant production in controlled environment structures has resulted in her giving invited presentations around the U.S. and Canada, and she is currently co-authoring a book about Water and Nutrient Management for Floral Crops. She collaborates on research projects in high tunnels (www.hightunnels.org) and focuses her research on solving floriculture industry problems.
Williams serves as the faculty advisor for Pi Alpha Xi, the National Honor Society for Horticulture, in addition to many College of Agriculture and Department of Horticulture, Forestry & Recreation Resources committees. She advises 25 to 30 students who are specializing in crop production disciplines and enjoys linking them to national floriculture industry scholarships and awards; her students have been awarded over $100,000 in industry scholarships during the past decade.
Dr. Williams and her family enjoy traveling, and they visit greenhouse operations at every opportunity. She stays active with her young daughter and does her best to keep up on current events when she is not on the job.