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. In 2010, she was recognized as University Distinguished Teaching Scholar.
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 and grow crops hydroponically. In HORT 600 Herbaceous Crop Production, students produce annuals and perennials for the KSU campus and KSU Gardens. In HORT 625 Floral Crops Production and Handling, students grow fresh flowers used in the department's floral design class.
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 focuses her research on solving floriculture industry problems.
Williams really enjoys advising 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.