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Grain science doctoral student at K-State receives Phi Kappa Phi Graduate Research Grant

Monday, April 29, 2024



MANHATTAN — Kansas State University graduate student Rania Marie Espeso Buenavista is one of only 20 students to receive a Graduate Research Grant from the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi.

The grants of up to $1,500 are designed to support graduate students who are active Phi Kappa Phi members seeking funding for research in support of career development opportunities.

Buenavista, doctoral student in grain science, San Pedro, Philippines, will use funds from the award to present at the 2024 Institute of Food Technologists First Conference in Chicago, Illinois.

"Attending the IFT First Conference and Food Expo will enable me to stay informed about current trends and challenges in sustainable protein production, which is of particular interest to me," Buenavista said. "I am looking forward to this exciting opportunity and eager to make the most out of it."

Buenavista is a graduate research assistant and graduate teaching assistant for the Processing Calculations in Food Systems course in the department of grain science and industry, and her major professor is Kaliramesh Siliveru, associate professor of grain science and industry. She is in the inaugural cohort of Food Security Scholars at K-State.

Her research is focused on the development and modification of alternative protein ingredients derived from pulses through dry fractionation, air classification and cold plasma technology. She aims to use these pulse proteins to formulate protein-enriched baked products. This research is especially significant with the increasing demand for plant-based diets, which require diverse food options and improved functional protein ingredients.

Her leadership roles on campus include Honor Council representative, Graduate Student Council; social chair, Philippines Student Association; and event chair, Grain Science Graduate Student Organization. She is also a member of the Graduate Student Ambassadors and the Global Engagement Committee of the Young Professionals Community in the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers.

"Personally, receiving recognition and support from this prestigious honor society has been a great boost to my morale," Buenavista said. "I am honored to be a member of Phi Kappa Phi and grateful for the opportunities it presents for my academic and professional growth."

In addition to Phi Kappa Phi, Buenavista is a member of several honor societies, including Phi Tau Sigma, the honor society of food science and technology, Alpha Mu, K-State's honorary grain science society; and Gamma Sigma Delta, an international honorary society of agriculture.

Buenavista is the incoming College Bowl Chair of the Institute of Food Technologists Student Association and the incoming student liaison of the Kansas City section of the institute for the 2024-2025 term.

Her many accolades include the Extraordinary Student Award from K-State's Division of Academic Success and Student Affairs, the Outstanding Graduate Student Scholarship in the Ph.D. category from the Kansas City Section of IFT, the Mortar Board Outstanding Student Award from the XIX Chapter of Mortar Board and the Love of Learning Award from Phi Kappa Phi.

Buenavista earned a bachelor's degree in agricultural and biosystems engineering from University of the Philippines Los Baños, Laguna, Philippines, and a master's in grain science from Kansas State University.

"K-State's Phi Kappa Phi chapter is very proud of Rania's achievements and pleased that she is receiving this national recognition for her work," said Shawna Jordan, president of the K-State Phi Kappa Phi chapter. "She is joining a long legacy of K-State students winning awards from Phi Kappa Phi."

Kansas State University students interested in applying for nationally competitive scholarships should contact Beth Powers, director of Scholar Development and Undergraduate Research and the Office of Nationally Competitive Scholarships, at bethpowers@k-state.edu.

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Rania Buenavista

Rania Marie Espeso Buenavista, doctoral student in grain science, is one of only 20 students to receive a Graduate Research Grant from the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi. | Download this photo.

Written by

Malorie Sougéy