Mizzou students set records for prestigious fellows.
Kevin Bird, BS BA ’16, knows how to make it rain. In spring 2016, the undergraduate researcher raked in two competitive national fellowships. He was one of 14 current and recent Mizzou students to win prestigious National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships, which provide funding for graduate school. He was also one of 10 Mizzou students — a record number — chosen for grants from the U.S. government’s Fulbright Program for international education.
For Bird, science is personal. At age 10, he was diagnosed with a congenital heart defect. After benefitting from researched-based surgery that allowed him to put off further procedures for at least 20 years, he recognized the value of science. “From really early on, I knew research and scientific knowledge could have a good impact,” he says.
Bird majored in biology and philosophy, and he collaborated with researchers at Cornell University to identify genes that make plants more nutritious. “This research is compelling for me because not only is nutrition really complex, but plants’ nutritional qualities directly benefit humans,” Bird says. “They can improve health in people around the world. It gets to my basic inquisitive side, and it’s a good way for me to give back to society.”
2016 Mizzou NSF Fellows
2016 Mizzou Fulbright Fellows