Computing and Engineering Celebrates Donors, Scholars

Scholarships Contribute to SCE Growth

“For a number of students, scholarships are a determining factor in which college they choose to attend, and for some, scholarships determine whether they attend college at all,” said University of Missouri-Kansas City Provost and Executive Vice-Chancellor Barbara Bichelmeyer, as she welcomed a full house of UMKC’s School of and Engineering (SCE) donors and scholars.

The SCE hosted its 2016 Scholarship Recognition Luncheon on Friday, Sept. 30 at the Atterbury Student Success Center’s Pierson Auditorium. Computing and engineering scholars, donors, faculty and staff showed up in numbers to celebrate the lasting impact scholarships have on students and programs.

“Scholarships contribute in a major way to the School of Computing and Engineering’s growth,” said Dean Kevin Truman, adding that this year the school has the largest undergraduate enrollment in history.

Computing and engineering scholars are selected because of their dedication to their education and their futures. They have had high test scores and grade point averages, and many participate in computing and engineering student organizations on campus.

Freshman and Project Lead the Way Scholarship Recipient Ryan Barton jumped right in this semester, joining the Society of Physics Students and Engineers Without Borders.

“My scholarship allowed me to come to UMKC, which is a major networking opportunity,” said Barton, whose scholarship was also the deciding factor between UMKC and another university. Project Lead the Way is an affiliate program of the KC STEM Alliance that provides hands-on coursework to high school students interested in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) and lays the foundation for student success.

Dean Truman says the SCE is pleased about getting more young people excited about computing and engineering. In recognizing donors, he gave insight to the many ways in which donor support contributes to the growth of the SCE, including the new DST Student Services Center. That kind of support provides opportunity for SCE faculty and staff to recruit the best and brightest students, who in turn will contribute to the innovation and growth happening in Kansas City.

“Without donors, many students would not otherwise have many of the opportunities that are available to us,” said SCE senior and Robert C. Harmon Scholar Kacey Henik. Those donors include many of Kansas City’s largest computing and engineering firms as well as SCE faculty/staff scholarship contributions.

In 2006 long-time SCE Advisor Debby Dilks endowed a scholarship in her mother’s name to encourage more female presence in STEM careers. The Doris Markhman Swinney Scholarship is awarded to incoming freshmen in the SCE engineering program, with preference given to qualified female students with a financial need.

“My mother was a proponent of women’s rights,” said Dilks, who’s been an engineering advisor for 33 years. “I wanted to do something in her honor that correlates with my mother’s passion and encourages females in engineering.” Many other SCE faculty and staff also contribute toward an endowed Faculty/Staff Scholarship, which was also conceived by Dilks.

“Faculty and staff are a key part of what makes the SCE successful,” said Dean Truman. Truman says the SCE trajectory is incredibly steep, and he looks forward to continuing the school’s growth in the near future.

Kelsey Haynes | Division of Strategic Marketing and Communications

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