School of Science and Engineering Recognizes Alumni, Supporters, Donors

TREKK, McDonnell among this year’s Vanguard Award winners

The School of Science and Engineering recognized this year’s top donors, alumni and organizations at the 2022 Vanguard Awards. 

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

2022 Vanguard Recipients 

Young Alumni Award: Lauren Koval (BSCE ’17) 

After her graduation in 2017, she joined McCownGordon Construction, where she progressed from a project engineer to an engineering manager and was responsible for many high-profile projects locally and regionally. In 2020, she received the Rising Trendsetter STEMMY award.  

At UMKC, Koval was an exemplary student, playing for the UMKC Division 1 women’s soccer team, and being named academic all-conference for all four years in the program, all while also being a UMKC Trustee’s scholar. Koval continues to mentor UMKC Trustee’s scholars. She joined the Civil and Mechanical Engineering Advisory board in 2020 and was named chair in 2021.

Supporter Award: Tom McDonnell 

McDonnell has been one of the biggest supporters of SSE over the years. Recently, he was among the first donors to sign on to support the Robert W. Plaster Free Enterprise and Research Center. 

STEM Outreach Partner of the Year: Notre Dame de Sion and St. Teresa’s Academy 

Notre Dame de Sion High School and St. Teresa’s Academy are committed to engaging young women in STEM in a variety of different ways. Last year, Sion’s students toured the Plaster Center and applied the concepts they learned in math into a CAD/3D printing project.  

St. Teresa’s students visited campus and spent a whole day immersed in learning about aerospace engineering or augmented and virtual reality, taking their knowledge back to school to create independent projects.

These trips give students hands-on experiences and allow them to develop an enthusiasm for pursuing STEM degrees. 

Company of the Year: TREKK Design Group, LLC 

Founders Kimberly and Trent Robinett met as students at the formerly known School of Computing and Engineering, where, in 1995, Kimberly received a degree in electrical engineering and Trent a degree in civil engineering.  

In 2002, the two launched TREKK Design Group. TREKK’s early projects focused primarily on transportation and site development work across Kansas City and later transitioned to focus on wastewater field services. In 2014, Kimberly and Trent were honored with the UMKC Alumni Achievement Award.  

TREKK continues to support SSE through its sponsorship of the structural lab overlook and study areas within the Plaster Center. Trent also serves as a practitioner for the civil senior design class. 

To view last year’s Vanguard winners, click here.

Learn more about School of Science and Engineering

Published: Oct 7, 2022

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