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University of Missouri

Fellowship Phenom

Mizzou students set records for prestigious fellows.

Kevin Bird portrait

Senior Kevin Bird is a 2016 NSF Fellow. Photo by Maggie Teson.

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
Kevin Bird
Marcos Barcellona
Samantha Huddleston
Charles Meyer
Emily Cheng
Wade Dismukes
Devin Petersohn
Shawn Abrahams
Kiristin Budd
Faye McGechie
Toryn Schafer
McKenzie Callaway
Nicholas Pretnar
Angelique Taylor

2016 Mizzou Fulbright Fellows
Kevin Bird
Samantha Franks
Alexandra Baumhardt
Travis Eakin
Erica Eisenberg
Kaitlyn Erehart
Makenna Schrader
Josh Gilmer
Emily Wiechmann
Rachel Newman

More on Mizzou’s National Science Foundation fellows »