National organization helps fund students’ further education

May 4, 2010

STARKVILLE, Miss. – Economic woes will not prevent three Mississippi State students from pursuing engineering degrees. Each Bagley College of Engineering student has earned financial support from the world’s largest engineering honor society.

Tau Beta Pi has awarded a $2,000 scholarship to Michael Barton, a senior in aerospace engineering. William Cleveland, aerospace and computer engineering, and Lauren Priddy, biomedical engineering, each earned the title of Fellow and a offer for $10,000 for one year of graduate study. Although it has 236-student chapters nationwide, the organization awarded only 102 undergraduate scholarships and 28 fellowships.

Barton, a member of MSU’s honors college, has maintained a 4.0 grade point average and earned aerospace student of the year honors for his class each year. He currently serves as a co-op student with the United Space Alliance in Cape Canaveral, Fla., and is drumline section leader for MSU’s Famous Maroon Band. He was recently elected president of the Engineering Student Council and is an active member of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and the Phi Kappa Phi honor society. A native of Collierville, Tenn., he is the son of John and Candy Barton. He is a 2007 graduate of Collierville High School.

In his time at State, Cleveland served as president of MSU’s Tau Beta Pi and Sigma Gamma Tau student chapters. He was also IEEE student chair, Phi Kappa Phi vice president, and a Lab Rats Comedy Troupe performer. As an undergraduate, he worked as a research assistant for MSU’s Simcenter, and a member of the unmanned aerial systems and IEEE robotics teams. A frequent summer intern, he also worked at the Air Force Institute of Technology, von Karman Institute for Fluid Dynamics, and completed the NASA Langley Summer Research Program. He is a native of Gulfport, Miss., and a 2005 graduate of the Mississippi School for Math and Science. He is the son of Peter and Faye Carole Cleveland.

A second year master’s student, Priddy has maintained a 4.0 grade point average through six years of engineering study. She earned a bachelor’s degree in biological engineering in 2008. She currently works as a research assistant in MSU’s Cardiovascular Tissue Biomechanics Laboratory and serves on the BCoE agricultural and biological engineering departmental advisory committee. She is an active part of Bulldogs for Heart Health and the MSU Synthetic Biology Club. As an undergraduate, she was part of the MSU International Genetically Engineered Machine team, Shackouls Honor College, and the MSU cheerleading squad. A 2004 graduate of Lamar High School, she is married to Matthew Priddy of Columbus, Miss., and is the daughter of Hamp and Kim Beatty of Starkville.

The Tau Beta Pi fellowship board was created in 1932. The organization added a scholarship program in 1998. When evaluating applications, the award committees look for high scholarship, strong faculty recommendations, definite extracurricular contributions, unusual promise of substantial achievement and a program through which accomplishment will advance the interest of engineering profession.

Tau Beta Pi was founded in 1885 at Lehigh University. With its current headquarters at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, the organization has more than 236 collegiate chapters and 514,188 members. Additional information can be found by visiting

For more information about the Bagley College of Engineering, visit