Meet the 2018-19 Wright Scholars

2018 Wright Scholarship winners
Benefactor C. Kenneth Wright with the second cohort of Wright Scholars. (From left) Stephanie Fulenwider Bilyeu, Tara McIntosh, Caleb Dalton, Megan Charity, Darren Chan, Max Vandenesse, Jacqueline Chavez Orellana, Rami Dahman, Regena Walker, Maxwell Shuell, Tan Timothy Tran, Adam Smith, Jay Spangler, Marisa Bausone, Arthur Chadwick, Muhammad Zubair Yasin, Andriy Mulyar.

The Wright Engineering Access Scholarship is VCU Engineering’s flagship scholarship program. It was established in 2017 with a historic $5 million gift from longtime benefactor C. Kenneth Wright (H.D.L. ’11) Wright designed his gift to help qualified students, especially nontraditional students, earn an engineering degree without dependence on loans. Wright and the second cohort of Wright Scholars were recently honored at the VCU College of Engineering Dean's Society reception. See photos

Meet the 2018-19 Wright Scholars:

Marisa Bausone

Major: Chemical engineering
Hometown: Sandston, Virginia
Career Goal: To work with water purification or in material design/production.
Fun Fact: Loves to ballroom dance.

Abigail Byram

Major: Computer science
Hometown: Lynchburg, Virginia
Career Goal: Researcher in Natural Language Processing and computer science educator.
Fun Fact: Has four younger siblings who were adopted from China.

Jared Carey

Major: Electrical engineering
Hometown: Ashburn, Virginia
Career Goal: To work as an acoustical engineer or a project engineer—and travel.
Fun Fact: Has lived in six different countries.

Arthur Chadwick

Major: Mechanical engineering
Hometown: Powhatan, Virginia
Career Goal: Mechanical design engineer by day, working on startups by night.
Fun Fact: Highly involved in the da Vinci Center VCU Engineering community. Optimistic about the future of humanity.

Darren Chan

Major: Computer science
Hometown: Chesterfield, Virginia
Career Goal: Software engineering.
Fun Fact: Went to Los Angeles, California, for the first time over the summer.

Megan Charity

Major: Computer science
Hometown: Richmond, Virginia
Career Goal: Researcher and professor of game design and artificial intelligence.
Fun Fact: Is a chaser on VCU’s Quidditch team, Wizengamot Quidditch at VCU.

Jacqueline Chavez Orellana

Major: Biomedical engineering
Hometown: Ladysmith, Virginia
Career Goal: Biomechanics in automotives or rehabilitation for stroke patients.
Fun Fact: Was almost an art major. 

Rami Dahman

Major: Computer engineering
Hometown: Boston, Massachusetts
Career Goal: Earning a Ph.D. in computer engineering and becoming an industry researcher at Intel.
Fun Fact: Has a tailless black cat named Baloo and he is beautiful.

Caleb Dalton

Major: Biomedical engineering; physics
Hometown: Richmond, Virginia
Career Goal: To be at the leading edge of research. Interested in the communication between peoples and industries and the flux and manipulation of the information that flows through them.
Fun Fact: Can write with both hands, in any direction, simultaneously.

Jackson Doody

Major: Biomedical engineering
Hometown: Chesterfield, Virginia
Career Goal: Engineering firm ownership focused on innovative medical technology accessible to all classes.
Fun Fact: Loves adventure and surfing.

Stephanie Fulenwider Bilyeu

Major: Mechanical engineering
Hometown: Richmond, Virginia
Career Goal: Professional Engineer in commercial HVAC design; business owner; mentor.
Fun Fact: Has fully renovated three kitchens. Ardent fan of Frank Herbert novels.

Michael Horton

Major: Mechanical engineering
Hometown: Richmond, Virginia
Career Goal: Working in a creative atmosphere on problems related to climate change.
Fun Fact: He and his wife are expecting their first child — any day now.

Erwin Karincic

Major: Computer engineering
Hometown: Sarajevo, Bosnia
Career Goal: Network security architecture.
Fun Fact: Built a security competition to allow students to test their skills.

Samuel Lewis

Major: Mechanical engineering
Hometown: Stafford, Virginia
Career Goal: To become an aerospace engineer and gain his professional engineering certification.
Fun Fact: Plays bass on the VCU drumline and clarinet for the VCU Peppas in his free time.

Tara McIntosh 

Major: Chemical and life science engineering
Hometown: Riebeek Kasteel, South Africa  
Career Goal: To work for an environmentally conscious chemical manufacturing company.
Fun Fact: Was going to study art and biology, but a month after being accepted to VCU decided on chemical engineering.

Harini Mody 

Major: Electrical engineering
Hometown: Mechanicsville, Virginia
Career Goal: To obtain a master’s degree and then work in industry.
Fun Fact: Loves playing board games and running.

Andriy Mulyar

Major: Computer science; mathematics
Hometown: Richmond, Virginia
Career Goal: To become a research scientist.
Fun Fact: Was born in Lviv, Ukraine.

Jessica Shaffer

Major: Electrical engineering; applied mathematics
Hometown: Amelia Courthouse, Virginia
Career Goal: Researching energy harvesting.
Fun Fact: Studies historical European martial arts and practices historically accurate German longsword fighting (among other weapons).

Maxwell Shuell

Major: Computer engineering
Hometown: Woodbridge, Virginia
Career Goal: To pioneer a Hyperloop technology.
Fun Fact: Is a Buffalo Wild Wings Blazin’ Wings Challenge survivor.

Adam Smith

Major: Mechanical engineering; minor in computer science
Hometown: Hanover, Virginia
Career Goal: To work for a company that will use and expand his engineering and computer science knowledge.
Fun Fact: Is one of nine siblings.

Jay Spangler

Major: Biomedical engineering
Hometown: Lynchburg, Virginia
Career Goal: General surgery practice.
Fun Fact: His favorite hobby is fishing.

Dwayne E. Thurston Jr.

Major: Electrical engineering
Hometown: North Chesterfield, Virginia
Career Goal: Working in automation and controls.
Fun Fact: Enjoys bodyboarding at the beach each summer. 

Tan Timothy Tran

Major: Computer science
Hometown: Fairfax, Virginia
Career Goal: Medicine.
Fun Fact: Loves to participate in lunar new year festival lion dances at VCU.

Max Vandenesse

Major: Computer science
Hometown: Richmond, Virginia
Career Goal: To have success and self-fulfillment working for a company that fosters both professional and personal growth.
Fun Fact: Enjoys camping and off-roading with friends.

Vanessa Vaughan
Major: Chemical and life science engineering
Hometown: Richmond, Virginia
Career Goal: To work as a process engineer and earn a professional engineering license within 10 years of graduation.
Fun Fact: Once won a pickled jalapeño-eating competition.

Regena Walker

Major: Computer science
Hometown: Richmond, Virginia
Career Goal: Software development (to create an application bigger than Facebook!)
Fun Fact: Is a seamstress and makes her own clothes.

Muhammad Zubair Yasin 

Major: Electrical engineering
Hometown: Herndon, Virginia
Career Goal: To own his own company focused on renewable energy and sustainability.
Fun Fact: After weightlifting injuries, started doing calisthenics and bodyweight training; also a fan of cooking when time permits.