The leaders of the Minority Serving Institution Partnership Program (MSIPP) at the Kansas City National Security Campus (KCNSC) know all about being strategic and not letting something good slip away - whether that’s an impressive student for an internship or cost savings managing the program. Each year, Amy Moser, Lead Mechanical Engineer and Rachel Grodsky, Lead Chemical Engineer manage the budget to host the MSIPP interns at KCNSC. They began to notice that they consistently were under budget which sparked an idea to continue supporting the interns’ academic goals through scholarships.
Amy and Rachel’s idea turned reality; in its third year, KCNSC has been able to turn those leftover dollars into scholarship opportunities for the MSIPP interns thanks to the hard work of Amy and a panel of employee judges every year.
“The interns are asked to submit essays for judges to review,” Amy said. “This year’s essay theme was, Why are you Pursuing a STEM Degree?”
Sofia Gomez, a 2020 MSIPP intern, submitted her essay to apply for the scholarships and was thrilled when she received one of the top honors - $15,000. Sofia is a senior pursuing her Mechanical Engineering degree at the University of Texas, El Paso (UTEP). Sofia said the essay was challenging but she managed to focus on her own story and how impactful her degree has been. Sofia is planning on utilizing the scholarship to pay for her tuition so she can focus on completing her degree and getting involved in research.
“The money will also set me up for my future dream of creating an engineering/architecture firm where I hope to build after-school centers with mentorship between UTEP students and at-risk middle school students interested in STEM,” Sofia said.
Grant Lewis, Senior Engineer Technical Specialist, was a first-time scholarship judge and enjoyed learning what STEM really meant to the students. When reviewing essays, Grant was able to feel their passion through the pages not only with STEM but with their communities as well.
“Reading the essays really made me want to root for each and every one of them,” Grant said. “I am really proud to be on a committee that is able to award life-changing scholarships.”
The MSIPP program awarded 10 scholarships this year totaling $43,000. Top Honors were given to Sofia Gomez, Stephani Nevarez and Elsa Bramasco-Rivera; the Spirit Scholarship (new this year) winners were Ashley Boyd and Valeria Morales-Rosario and Honorable Mention Scholarships went to Aaron Brown and Ransford Damptey. Three additional winners that participated in our Research Experience for Undergraduates were Joshua Dantzler, Briana Sanchez and Tesfaye Segni.
Congratulations to all the winners!