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Oklahoma State University

Kolb Scholarship awarded to graduate students

Oklahoma State University graduate students Steve Ruggiero and Colton Flynn have received the Walter Kolb Graduate Studies Scholarship for the 2018-2019 school year. The Kolb scholarship is awarded to students pursuing a STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) degree from the College of Arts and Sciences or the College of Engineering, Architecture and Technology. Committees appointed by the deans of the two colleges chose the recipients

Ruggiero, a doctoral student in chemical engineering, focuses on solving biological issues using computer models and systems. With the aid of technology, the researchers in his lab are able to comprehend the existing synergies among all biological components with the end goal of finding better ways to treat and prevent diseases. Ruggiero is currently examining diabetic kidney disease. The Kolb Scholarship will allow him to expand his computer science skills to further his investigations. 

“There’s an elective that I’ve been trying to take called Data Structures and Algorithms 1 that doesn’t count for graduate level credit. It’s relevant to what I want to learn, and it’s a prerequisite for other classes I want to take so it will help offset the cost of it.”

Flynn, a geography doctoral student, was a teacher for three years before deciding to advance his education and choosing OSU because of the school’s agricultural focus. Flynn is focusing on the use of unmanned aerial vehicles in precision agriculture analyses and remote sensing for measuring in-field nutrition. His research interests took him to Ethiopia where he spent eight months gathering data and helping local farmers improve their productions of teff, a grain that is a staple of the Ethiopian diet. 

The scholarship will help Flynn continue research in Ethiopia, which represents a fundamental part of his dissertation.   

“I had to pay for a lot of my research out of pocket. I’m actually still paying for it because some tests are still going on. This scholarship will help in the actual science portion of this study because it’s going to help me cover those costs for my dissertation studies. So, I’m beyond grateful for it.” 
Walter Kolb graduated from OSU in 1958 with a B.A. in geography. When asked why he endowed the scholarship, Kolb said, “OSU helped me greatly in my life and career and I felt it was my job to pay it forward.” 

By Marcia Guevara.