College names first class of Dean’s Engineering Excellence Fellowship recipients

The fellowship recipients and college leadership pose outside Lafferre Hall.

Trevor Bajkowski, Max Highsmith, Caleb Heinzman, Matthew Deardorff and Luke Kruse were the first class of Dean’s Engineering Excellence Fellowship Recipients. They are seen here with Dean Elizabeth Loboa and Associate Dean Hani Salim. Photo by Amy Parris.

This week, the MU College of Engineering officially announced the first five recipients of the Dean’s Engineering Excellence Fellowship — Trevor Bajkowski, Matthew Deardorff, Caleb Heinzman, Max Highsmith and Luke Kruse. The goal of this effort is to recruit world-class doctoral candidates with seed funding to aid in their pursuit of a Ph.D., which also furthers the College’s strategic goal of doubling the number of quality graduate students.

“The College put money forth with support from the Office of Graduate Studies and the individual departments” said Tojan Rahhal, director of the Office of Diversity and Outreach Initiatives and member of the Office of Academic Programs and Student Success, which oversees the fellowship.

“These initiatives are crucial for advancing our strategic goals and supporting our graduate students,” added Hani Salim, Associate Dean for Academic Programs.

Students receive an initial $30,000 stipend, and costs are covered for fees, tuition and healthcare for the first year. The students’ home departments and the MU Office of Graduate Studies then will work to support these students through graduation.

The recipients were selected from a pool of first-year Ph.D. applicants. The finalists were voted on by a collection of the College’s Directors of Graduate Studies.

Trevor Bajkowski

  • Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
  • Grain Valley, Mo.
  • “I feel really honored to be able to have people support my pursuit in higher ed. It makes me feel like all work I’ve done the past few years was justified. I’m really excited to be able to not only take those next steps in higher education but to represent my home state and home university.”

Matthew Deardorff

  • Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
  • Kansas City, Mo.
  • “I want to be good rep of the College and of the University as whole. I want to prove that I will be able to thrive in academia after getting my undergraduate [degree] here, and I’m excited to prove what I’ve learned and what I’ll be able to learn over the next few years.”

Caleb Heinzman

  • Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
  • Citrus Springs, Fl.
  • “Honestly, I feel very honored to be one of the recipients. It’s one of the coolest awards I’ve gotten. I feel very blessed.”

Max Highsmith

  • Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
  • Louis, Mo.
  • “It’s an opportunity to pursue my research and an opportunity to focus my efforts on research instead of working a standard job.”

Luke Kruse

  • Biomedical, Biological and Chemical Engineering
  • Columbia, Mo.
  • “It provides me with a great opportunity and helps fund me to do research into personalized medicine, which I’ve wanted to do as long as I’ve known about it. I think it’s really exciting. I think this is what I was meant to do. I can use math, science and combine interdisciplinary stuff to make the world a better place.”

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