Meet the 2019-2020 Wright Scholars

Wright Scholars 2019-20
A number of current Wright scholarship recipients were able to attend the Oct. 2 event honoring the legacy of C. Kenneth Wright. (From left) Kiana Jackson, Jordan Thomas, Katherine Reyes-Martinez, Med Salkic (a VCU Trani Scholar, also funded by C. Kenneth Wright), Mikayla Davis, Andriy Mulyar, Abigail Baugher, Brandon Watts, Evamarie Pascoe, Eric Crump and Omar Amr.

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 (1924-2019), who passed away in August. Wright designed his gift to help qualified students, especially nontraditional students, earn an engineering degree at a minimal cost, without dependence on loans.

Members of the VCU Engineering community, along with civic and business leaders, gathered Oct. 2, 2019, to celebrate his legacy. Among the speakers was Omar Amr, a first-time Wright Scholar.

“When I was notified that I was selected for this scholarship, my first thought was, ‘Yes! Now I get to meet him,’” Amr recalled. “Unfortunately, I did not get to meet Mr. Wright. But after leaving here tonight, I will have the privilege of being a Wright Scholar and being one of the real-life embodiments of the vision he had.”

VCU's 2019-2020 Wright Scholars:

Helina Afework
Major: Biomedical engineering 
Hometown: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Career Goal: To be a medical doctor.
Fun Fact: Immigrated to the United States three years ago. 

Mafaz Aldrdery
Major: Mechanical engineering
Hometown: Springfield, Virginia
Career Goal: To become a professor.
Fun Fact: Grew up in Sudan.

Omar Amr
Major: Electrical engineering
Hometown: Midlothian, Virginia
Career Goal: To work in a company that promotes personal merit, self-worth and professional growth.
Fun Fact: Loves to program and is earning a minor in computer science.

Daveon Barbee
Major: Mechanical engineering
Hometown: Richmond, Virginia
Career Goal: To go into structural design projects for the homeless and less fortunate.
Fun Fact: Is a die-hard Washington Redskins fan.

Abigail Katelyn Baugher
Major: Chemical engineering
Hometown: Front Royal, Virginia
Career Goal: To help the less fortunate.
Fun Fact: Is the middle child of three.

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.

Anisha Beladia
Major: Biomedical engineering
Hometown: Centreville, Virginia
Career Goal: To design products and tools that would improve surgical practices.
Fun Fact: Has hypermobility in her elbows.

Keenan Brown
Major: Biomedical engineering
Hometown: Richmond, Virginia
Career Goal: To go to medical school and become a doctor.
Fun Fact: Was vegan for three years.

Jared Carey
Major: Electrical engineering
Hometown: Ashburn, Virginia
Career Goal: To become an acoustics engineer.
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: Is optimistic about the future of humanity.

Darren Chan
Major: Computer science
Hometown: Chesterfield, Virginia
Career Goal:  Software engineering.
Fun Fact: Commutes via electric skateboard.

Eric Crump
Major: Mechanical engineering and physics
Hometown: Chester, Virginia
Career Goal: To work in the space industry.
Fun Fact: Enjoys visiting aerospace museums and attending rocket launches.

Mikayla Davis
Major: Computer Science
Hometown: Hampton, Virginia
Career Goal: To become an information security analyst.
Fun Fact: Has a tabby cat.

Connor Delaney
Major: Biomedical engineering
Hometown: Alexandria, Virginia
Career Goal: To earn a Ph.D. in Neuroscience or an M.D. — or both. 
Fun Fact: Enjoys painting and following hometown baseball team (Go Nationals!).

Gabriel Dickey
Major: Chemical engineering
Hometown: Powhatan, Virginia
Career Goal:  To do research to find cleaner and more efficient sources of energy.
Fun Fact: Was originally a chemistry major.

Jackson Doody
Major: Biomedical engineering
Hometown: North Chesterfield, Virginia
Career Goal: To own a firm that makes innovative medical technology accessible to all classes.
Fun Fact: Loves adventure and surfing.

Xavier Ferguson
Major: Mechanical and nuclear engineering 
Hometown: Danville, Virginia
Career Goal: Become a nuclear engineer.
Fun Fact: Loves sports and likes to build or fix things.

Christopher Flippen
Major: Computer science and mathematics
Hometown: Richmond, Virginia
Career Goal: To work in math research and become a professor.
Fun Fact: Wears an identical outfit every day (an orange shirt and khaki shorts).

Jordan D. Glisan
Major: Mechanical engineering
Hometown: Galesburg, Illinois
Career Goal: To become a company executive.
Fun Fact: His favorite hobbies include video games and bowling.

Tyres Glisan
Electrical Engineering
Hometown: Galesburg, Illinois
Career Goal: To obtain a position of responsibility in the company I work for.
Fun Fact: Has played football his entire life until now.

Kasey Handy
Major: Biomedical engineering
Hometown: Bristow, Virginia
Career Goal: Undecided.
Fun Fact: Is left-handed.

Kiana Jackson
Major: Electrical engineering
Hometown: Silver Spring, Maryland
Career Goal: To work in the defense industry and eventually become a CEO.
Fun Fact: Enjoys traveling, especially cruising, and has visited more than 15 islands.

Erwin Karincic
Major: Computer engineering
Hometown: Sarajevo, Bosnia
Career Goal: To work in network security architecture.
Fun Fact: Built a security competition to allow students to test their skills.

Trevon Lamb
Major: Computer science 
Hometown: Norfolk, Virginia 
Career Goal: To create a piece of technology that makes life easier for people with diabetes or disabilities.
Fun Fact: Has Type One diabetes.

Tara McIntosh
Major: Chemical and life science engineering 
Hometown: Riebeek Kasteel, South Africa 
Career Goal: To work in process engineering for an environmentally conscious company. 
Fun Fact: Was going to study art and biology but could combine creative thinking and science through engineering.

Harini Mody
Major: Electrical engineering
Hometown: Mechanicsville, Virginia
Career Goal: To work in an environment that allows her to help others on a daily basis.
Fun Fact: Is a long distance runner.

Landon Moore
Major: Mechanical and nuclear engineering
Hometown: Colonial Heights, Virginia
Career Goal: Working as an engineer in the nuclear energy industry. 
Fun Fact: Plays guitar.

Kody Morrison 
Major: Electrical engineering and physics 
Hometown: Richmond, Virginia 
Career Goal: To advance space exploration.
Fun Fact: Was previously a helicopter mechanic as a Marine Corps sergeant.

Andriy Mulyar
Majors: Computer science and mathematics
Hometown: Lviv, Ukraine
Career Goal: A research position in machine learning.
Fun Fact: Many were likely rushing to file taxes the day he was born.

Johnny Nguyen
Major: Computer science
Hometown: Richmond, Virginia
Career Goal: To be a software engineer.
Fun Fact: Has a cute domestic cat named Lancelot.

Ivan Parada
Major: Computer engineering
Hometown: Reston, Virginia
Career Goal: To be financially stable while also providing financial support to his mom.
Fun Fact: Is a mentor to first-generation college students through the YouFirst mentorship program.

Evamarie Pascoe
Major: Mechanical engineering
Hometown: Roanoke, Virginia 
Career Goal: To work in the manufacturing industry or the creation of prosthetics, possibly for the military.
Fun Fact: Enjoys playing lacrosse. 

Kelci Pool
Major: Biomedical engineering 
Hometown: Danville, Virginia
Career Goal: To work in prosthetics or design and make rehabilitation products for amputees. 
Fun Fact: Was part of the marching band color guard in high school.  

Lucas Quitter
Mechanical engineering 
Hometown: Paso Robles, California 
Career Goal: To work in alternative energy. 
Fun Fact: Has traveled to 31 states.

Katherine Reyes-Martinez
Major: Computer science
Hometown: Dumfries, Virginia
Career Goal: To work in the software industry on something innovative and useful to others.
Fun Fact: Enjoys journaling to process thoughts and relive memories.

Bufford Brian Sta Maria
Major: Computer science
Hometown: Manila, the Philippines
Career Goal: To be a software engineer who helps people reach their dreams, goals and full potential.
Fun Fact: Born at exactly 11:59 p.m. to avoid having the same birthday as his grandmother.

Jordan Thomas
Major: Mechanical engineering 
Hometown: Bowie, Maryland
Career Goal: To continue his dream of becoming an engineer. 
Fun Fact: Is the grandson of an engineer.

Saumya Trivedi
Major: Computer science
Hometown: Chesapeake,Virginia
Career Goal: To be a software engineer in a tech company, then create a startup.
Fun Fact: Speaks four languages.

Tien Vuong
Major: Chemical and life science engineering
Hometown: Vietnam
Career Goal: To work as a research and development engineer. 
Fun Fact: Loves traveling and cooking.

Elizabeth Walters
Major: Electrical engineering
Hometown: Tappahannock, Virginia
Career Goal: To pursue a Ph.D in engineering or physics and become a professor.
Fun Fact: Was homeschooled through high school.

Brandon Watts
Major: Computer Science
Hometown: Prince George, Virginia
Career Goal: Working in machine translation for Google
Fun Fact: Has met Bill Nye in person.

Parisa Zalmai
Major: Biomedical engineering
Hometown: Leesburg, Virginia
Career Goal: To become an orthodontist.
Fun Fact: Speaks Farsi as her first language.