School of Computing and Engineering Recognizes STEM Supporters in KC

Kauffman, Sunderland foundations among this year's Vanguard Award winners

Kansas City donors, alumni and organizations were highlighted at the 2021 UMKC School of Computing and Engineering Vanguard Awards in October.

The annual award program is an opportunity to spotlight those who help expand STEM education and outreach in Kansas City.

"Our vision is to become a valued regional school of science, engineering and technology with signature professionally based education, research and community programs. I believe these award recipients are the embodiment of this vision," said Kevin Truman, dean of the school. 

This year the school recognized four honorees (as well as last year's winners who could not accept their awards in person due to the COVID-19 pandemic) in the categories of SCE Young Alumni Award, SCE Supporter Award, STEM Outreach Partner and Organization of the Year.

Photo by Brandon Parigo

2021 Vanguard Award Recipients

Young Alumni Award: Riddhiman Das, BS '12, MS '19, TripleBlind.

In 2019, Das started his own company, TripleBlind. The company's mission is to build cryptographically powered 'cyber' privacy without reliance on any given legal system. Currently, they are working on building an application programming interface that will enable bulletproof privacy as a service.

Before starting TripleBlind, Das worked in Corporate Venture Capital and M&A for Ant Financial. In this role, he sourced deals in Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence, Cybersecurity, IoT Computing. Ant Financial is the financial services member of the Alibaba Group, which purchased SCE technology-based EyeVerify, now known as ZOLOZ. Prior to working for Ant Financial, Das was a product architect at EyeVerify.

SCE Supporter of the Year: The Sunderland Foundation

The Sunderland Foundation has been a strong supporter of UMKC and SCE capital project, providing one of the lead gifts for the new Robert W. Plaster Free Enterprise and Research Center and renovations within Flarsheim Hall.

Outreach Partner of the Year: Kauffman Foundation

The Kauffman Foundation is a longtime support of UMKC and the SCE, helping fund the free enterprise portion of the Plaster Center, SCE's KC STEM Alliance, student teams and more.

Organization of the Year: Black & Veatch

Black & Veatch is the largest engineering firm in the Kansas City area. It is a global engineering procurement, construction and consulting company that specializes in infrastructure development in power, oil, gas, water, telecommunications, government, mining, data centers, smart cities and bank and finance markets.

The company's support for SCE is broad and includes a major gift for the new Plaster Center, additional philanthropic support for scholarships and student teams, providing internships and hiring students and adjunct faculty for specialty areas.