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Engineering students earn spots among McNair Scholars, publish research articles in annual journal

Civil and environmental engineering junior Sital Uprety, fourth from left, and Paulos Mengsteab, 10th from left, are among 18 University of Missouri students named to the 2012-2013 Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program. The McNair Scholars Program aims to provide research opportunities as well as academic and professional growth and graduate school preparation to students who are first-generation college students or who are from a group underrepresented in graduate studies. Photo by MU McNair Scholars Program

Two engineering students are among 18 University of Missouri students named to the Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program.

Paulos Mengsteab, a senior mechanical engineering student, and Sital Uprety, a junior civil and environmental engineering student, are part of the 2012-13 group, which also includes students majoring in nursing, psychology, forestry, music performance among others.

Mengsteab also was one of three MU McNair Scholars to attend the Wisconsin Association of Educational Opportunity Program Personnel Annual NcNair Retreat in September. He is working with Professor A. Sherif El-Gizawy. Uprety works in the lab of Assistant Professor Enos Inniss.

The McNair Scholars Program was established in 1989 by the U.S. Department of Education. Its mission is to prepare first-generation college students with financial need or students from underrepresented groups to pursue graduate degrees by involving them in research and other scholarly activities. The award was named for Ronald E. McNair, who was a crewmember aboard the ill-fated Challenger launch. MU was one of the original 14 universities selected to participate in the program, which now includes 200 universities across the U.S. and Puerto Rico.

McNair Scholars receive a stipend to conduct research with a faculty member for an academic year. They also attend professional conferences and graduate school fairs and receive guidance in preparing to apply to and attend graduate school.

Two engineering students from the 2011-12 McNair Scholars group are featured in the 20th edition of the MU McNair Journal. Darnell Cage, a mechanical engineering senior, and Akia Parks, a biological engineering senior, published articles from research conducted over the past year.

Cage’s research focused on cryopreservation, the freezing of biological cells or tissues to subzero temperatures for preservation, which he worked on with mechanical engineering Associate Professor Gary Solbrekken. Parks research with biological engineering Associate Professor John Viator focuses on methods to more quickly identify sepsis-causing bacteria in the bloodstream.

Download the current issue of the MU McNair Journal here.