STEM Innovators Conference honors eight Kennesaw State students

KENNESAW, Ga. | Nov 15, 2017

Peach State Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation Scholars recognized

Eight Kennesaw State students were honored recently for their scholarship and research at the 2017 STEM Innovators Conference in Atlanta, hosted by the University. The 12th annual symposium and research conference recognized outstanding Peach State Louis Stokes Alliance Minority Participation (LSAMP) Scholars.

There are currently more than 50 LSAMP Scholars at Kennesaw State’s Marietta and Kennesaw campuses. The LSAMP initiative is designed to improve minority participation and success in undergraduate and graduate science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) degree programs.

LSAMP scholars

Front row, from left, Mizzani Walker-Holmes , Andrew Jones and Christianne Hoggs; second row, Daniella Tapu (mentor), Huggins Msimanga (mentor), Alain Santos, Christopher Roper, Susan Smith (mentor), Beryl Khakina and Michael Baker, II.

“Congratulations to all the students who presented and represented KSU so well,” said Donald J. McGarey, interim vice president for research, Office of Research, and chief operating officer, KSU Research and Service Foundation, Inc. “Special thanks to the faculty who gave their time, energy and resources to support and mentor these students. Finally, thank you to the STEM deans and department chairs who continue to place a high priority on undergraduate research. This is an area of excellence and notoriety for KSU.”

With a grant from the National Science Foundation, LSAMP Scholars from Kennesaw State conducted cutting-edge research with top engineers and scientists and presented their work at the STEM Innovators Conference.

Winners from the Marietta Campus (Program Director David R. Veazie):      

• 1st place – Christopher Roper, engineering (oral presentation)

              Research mentor: Adeel Khalid

• 1st place – Mizzani Walker-Holmes, technology, electrical engineering or electrical and computing engineering (poster presentation)

              Research mentor: Carl Disalvo, Georgia Tech

• 2nd place – Andrew Jones, engineering (oral presentation)

              Research mentor: Tien Yee and Eduardo Farfan

• 3rd place – Alain Santos, mechanical engineering/aerospace (poster presentation)

         Research mentor: Adeel Khalid and Ayse Tekes

Winners from the Kennesaw Campus (Program Director Melanie C. Griffin):

• 1st place – Christianne Hoggs, chemistry (poster presentation)

               Research mentor: Huggins Msimanga

• 1st place – Beryl Khakina, cell and molecular biology (poster presentation)

               Research mentor: Susan Smith   

• 1st place – Julian Mory, chemistry (oral presentation)

               Research mentor: Mark Mitchell

• 2nd place – Michael Aaron Baker, II, cell and molecular biology (oral presentation)*

               Research mentor: Daniella Tapu

*Baker competed in the chemistry classification, although he was classed under cell and molecular biology.

There were 80 presentations from among the institute participants: University of Georgia, Fort Valley State University, Georgia Institute of Technology, Georgia State University-Perimeter College, Kennesaw State University-Kennesaw, Kennesaw State University-Marietta, and Savannah State University.

As the host institution, Kennesaw State organized the LSAMP high school workshop, which was held during the conference.

– Robert S. Godlewski

Photo by David Caselli


About Peach State LSAMP
The Peach State LSAMP program is supported by an NSF grant with the goal of increasing the number of underrepresented minority students who complete baccalaureate degrees in the Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines and encouraging them to pursue graduate studies in these fields. Our Alliance is a collaborative effort sustained by a coalition of six public institutions in the University System of Georgia including the University of Georgia, Fort Valley State University, Georgia State University-Perimeter College, Georgia Institute of Technology, Kennesaw State University-Kennesaw Campus, Kennesaw State University-Marietta Campus, and Savannah State University. With a student focus in mind, the Alliance institutions provide services that assist underrepresented minorities with the transition from high school to college, integrate them socially and academically into the university environment, and engage them in research and summer internship opportunities. More information about the Peach State LSAMP can be found on the web at

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A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its more than 45,000 students. Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia with 11 academic colleges. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 7 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit