Mizzou Engineering welcomes STEM Scholars at meet and greet event

August 31, 2022

Mizzou Engineering STEM Scholars Program banner

Group of STEM Scholars

The 2022 and 2021 STEM Scholars.

Mizzou Engineering has welcomed 12 aspiring civil engineers whose passion for the field helped earn them Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).

At a Meet and Greet event Thursday, Aug. 25, the incoming class of STEM Scholars had the opportunity to hear from Dean Noah Manring, civil and environmental engineering department Chair Praveen Edara and Jim Spain, vice provost for undergraduate studies. Also on hand were partners from the Missouri Department of Transportation, HDR and Kiewit and the STEM Project Team.

Funded by the National Science Foundation, the Mizzou Engineering STEM Scholars Program aims to diversify the industry. In addition to providing funding for tuition, the Scholars program provides holistic support, including academic and professional guidance, as well as opportunities to volunteer and be involved in the community.

Scholars receive personalized support in foundational courses along with engaged mentoring by faculty advisors during their first two years at Mizzou. During their junior and senior years, Scholars gain workforce training through internships and professional experiences.

“While all Mizzou Engineering students have support to ensure their success, STEM Scholars have an extra network to help guide them through classes, connect them to campus resources and get them involved in the community,” said Professor Vellore Gopalaratnam, principal investigator of the program. “As they go through the program, Scholars can then become peer mentors to new cohorts entering the program.”

The scholarship program began this past spring within the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Throughout the semester, Scholars participated in leadership events, volunteered at the local food bank, participated in a community-wide cleanup event and learned about sustainable farming at an urban farm in Columbia.

Meet the 2022 STEM Scholars

Molly Burke

Molly Burke is from Naperville, Illinois, and has always had a passion for volunteering and helping others. In high school, she was involved in basketball and softball, and volunteers each year with Special Olympics track and field in Illinois.

“Now that I’m older, I realized how important it is to lead and help others who need it,” she said.

Allison Buschmann

Allisson Buschmann is from Vienna, Missouri.

“I have a passion for engineering because I love designing, and my strong suits in school are math and science,” she said. “I love putting those two together, so engineering should be very interesting for me.”

Allison said she’s excited to be part of the STEM Scholars Program and looks forward to being involved during her time at Mizzou.

Tehilla Gani-Yesufu

Tehilla Gani-Yesufu is from Abuja, Nigeria. She attended Africa International College, where she participated in Model UN and the school choir. She says math is her favorite subject because it requires logic and doesn’t change. She also enjoys reading.

Reid Jackson

Reid Jackson is from St. Louis, where he played in the jazz band in high school. Reid enjoys art and poetry and is an avid rock climber.

“I’m very excited to start working toward a career in engineering,” he said, adding that he hopes to work in sustainability and environmental policy. “I am extremely grateful for the help of the STEM Scholars program to not only help financially but also make sure I have everything I need to succeed and make a difference in the world.”

Mason Kalwuhn

Mason Klawuhn is from Saint Joseph, Missouri, and is passionate about civil engineering.

“I am seeking to achieve a career in civil engineering and assist in constructing a better tomorrow for all,” she said. “I want to join the world in the Great Project, engineering a better world, ready to provide my hands and mind for a better cause.”

Abilene Lortz

Abilene Lortz is from the Lake of the Ozarks where she graduated Summa Cum Laude from Camdenton High School. She is also the founder of a non-profit organization, STEM Girl, Inc., which raises money to send girls to STEM summer camps.

“I am pursuing a career in civil engineering and hope to one day go into business with my father, who is a professional land surveyor,” she said. “I am excited to join the CEE STEM Scholars program and create long-lasting relationships with mentors and peers.

Luke Markovich

Luke Markovich is from O’Fallon, Missouri, where he played soccer for two years. He also worked through his junior and senior years.

“Now I’m getting ready for college at Mizzou and excited to be here,” he said.

Thomas McCauley

Thomas McCauley is from Wardsville, Missouri, where he played basketball and ran track and cross country. He was involved in several organizations, including Student Council, and volunteered for Special Olympics, Red Cross and the Samaritan Center.

“I am very excited to attend Mizzou where I plan to attend many sporting events,  participate in intramural sports and get involved with community service efforts in Columbia,” he said.

Elizabeth Moriarity

Elizabeth Moriarity is from St. Louis County, where she was part of jazz choir and played on the volleyball team. She is interested in fashion and music from the 1970s.

“I am so excited to be a part of the CEE STEM Scholars Program and can’t wait to use my love of math and science to solve real-world problems,” she said.

Thomas Phelen

Thomas Phelen is from Missouri and enjoys board games and building things.

“I have chosen the path of a civil engineer because it intrigues me and amazes me,” he said. “I thrive in the science and math fields of study.”

Christopher Wells

Christopher Wells is from Silvis, Illinois, where he played soccer and was involved in the community.

“My goal entering the engineering field is to be able to provide new ways to overcome current issues in our infrastructure,” he said. “I am very excited to get involved all around campus  and meet new people.”

Logan Wittman

Logan Wittman is from Columbia, Missouri, where he played football for Rock Bridge High School.

“I have recently acquired an internship at a major contractor in Missouri in which I get a great opportunity to practice the skills that I will learn in the civil engineering program at the University of Missouri.”

In addition to Gopalaratnam, the STEM Scholars project team includes Sarah Orton, associate professor of civil engineering, director of undergraduate studies and Co-PI on the project; Prof, Rose Marra from the MU School of Information Science and Learning Technologies and Co-PI; and Prof. Douglas Hacker, a professor in educational psychology at the University of Utah. Marra and Hacker serve as evaluators.

Learn more about the Mizzou Engineering STEM Scholars program here.