Aerospace Engineering seniors Racheal Ssentongo and Brian Tinkler

Aerospace Engineering seniors Racheal Ssentongo and Brian Tinkler


Two Department of Aerospace Engineering students have been named 2022-2023 Philip Merrill Presidential Scholars. The Merrill Presidential Scholars Program honors the University of Maryland’s most successful seniors and their designated University faculty and K-12 teachers for their mentorship.

Racheal Ssentongo, Aerospace Engineering
Teacher Mentor: Jack Stansbury, Poolesville High School, Poolesville, MD
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Jarred Young, Department of Aerospace Engineering

My interest in engineering was propelled by my high school math teacher, Mr. Stansbury. Through his mentorship he taught me about the foundations of engineering and helped lead me towards winning a silver medal for engineering at the NAACP Scientific Olympics. Through his guidance, a possible career in engineering became a reality.

In college, the mentorship that I received from my mechanics professor, Dr. Young, provided me with the critical tools and work ethic that contributed to my college success. As a minority in engineering, I battled with imposter syndrome in the beginning and doubted my abilities. However, the advice I received from Dr. Young instilled me with confidence and perseverance. He emphasized the importance of asking questions, seeking assistance from professors, forming study groups, and always practicing. The combination of mentorship that I received from Mr. Stansbury and Dr. Young has greatly advanced my academic achievements and professional endeavors.

Brian Tinkler, Aerospace Engineering
Teacher Mentor: Andrew Milcic, Severna Park High School, Severna Park, MD
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Jarred Young, Department of Aerospace Engineering

Mr. Andrew Milcic led me into becoming an aerospace engineer after taking his Project Lead The Way elective course at Severna Park High School. His course truly opened my eyes to the intricacies of aerospace and completely captured my interest.

Dr. Jarred Young has been an impeccable mentor during my time here at UMD and I hope I can remain in contact with him after I graduate. I have taken his courses and served as his TA, both of which have been captivating and truly remarkable.

Merrill Scholars and their mentors are honored during a special ceremony that brings teachers and faculty together in a workshop that leads to stronger collaboration between the University and K-12 schools. The legacy of academic excellence, teaching, and mentoring continues as scholarships are awarded in the K-12 teacher’s name to a new first year student from that teacher’s high school or school district. The Merrill Presidential Scholars Program builds a community of scholars, faculty members, and K-12 teachers who recognize and celebrate the importance of teaching and mentoring the next generation.


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October 25, 2022

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