Bachelor’s degree candidate Franck Mbuntcha Bogni and doctoral degree candidate Sarah Benish will be the student speakers for the University of Maryland College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences’ Winter 2020 Commencement Celebration. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the celebration will be pre-recorded and available for viewing after 2 p.m. EST on December 20, 2020, at commencement.umd.edu.
Franck Mbuntcha Bogni
Mbuntcha Bogni immigrated to the United States four years ago from Cameroon. He transferred to UMD from Montgomery College and he is graduating with a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences specializing in cell biology and genetics.
Mbuntcha Bogni has conducted research at both the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the National Institutes of Standards and Technology (NIST).
At the NCI, he conducted research on HIV-1 Gag RNA packaging with Jonathan Rawson in the HIV Dynamics and Replication program. Specifically, he developed an improved system to visualize HIV-1 particles by using programmed ribosomal frameshifting. He also investigated Gag RNA packaging determinants in HIV-1 and HIV-2.
At NIST, Mbuntcha Bogni worked to quantify in different biological media Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus—two pathogens that often express multidrug resistance. He did this workwith Sandra Da Silva in the Chemical Sciences Division.
Back on campus, Mbuntcha Bogni was a chemistry and biological sciences teaching assistant. He also volunteered at Adventist HealthCare Shady Grove Medical Center in the cardiology unit and shadowed Ghanshyam Gupta of Advanced Gastroenterology in Rockville, Maryland.
Mbuntcha Bogni plans to apply to medical school in the summer of 2021 and become a cardiologist.
Benish will be graduating with a Ph.D. in atmospheric and oceanic science (AOSC). She came to UMD in 2015 after earning a bachelor’s degree in biology and environmental studies with a certificate in global health from the University of WisconsinMadison. She earned her master’s degree in AOSC in 2019.
Her dissertation research focuses on characterizing air pollution measurements collected from a research aircraft over Hebei Province, China. She was advised by AOSC Professor Russell Dickerson. She has published three journal articles and is preparing three more for publication.
Benish was named a Three-Minute Thesis Competition winner in May 2020 and has engaged in science communication and policy activities after she helped create a student organization called Graduate Science Policy at UMD.
After graduation, Benish will work on air quality modeling as an Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) Postdoctoral Fellow at the Environmental Protection Agency.
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About the College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences
The College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences at the University of Maryland educates more than 9,000 future scientific leaders in its undergraduate and graduate programs each year. The college's 10 departments and more than a dozen interdisciplinary research centers foster scientific discovery with annual sponsored research funding exceeding $200 million.