Exceptional is just one word to describe Kameswara Mantha, doctoral student at the University of Missouri-Kansas City Department of Physics and Astronomy.
He is one of five individuals who are vying to be the first physics doctoral graduate at UMKC specializing in astrophysics. He’s making a name for himself through his dedication to physics research, scholarship and mentorship.
Pure determination and talent brought Mantha to where he is. While physics is Mantha’s passion, the path to a career in the field hasn’t been easy. Owing to the very limited opportunities to pursue physics degrees in his native India, Mantha earned a bachelor’s degree in electronics and communication engineering instead. In order to apply for graduate schools, “I self-taught to take the physics GRE,” Mantha said, and applied to top graduate schools in the United States. However, he was denied admissions by several institutes due to a lack of the right undergraduate degree.
So, armed with an engineering degree, Mantha joined the UMKC School of Computing and Engineering as a master’s student in August 2014. One day before the scheduled UMKC engineering student orientation, he learned about the UMKC Physics and Astronomy program, which stoked his hopes to pursue astrophysics. In a desperate search for an opportunity, Mantha pondered, “I’m going to try one last time” before approaching Professor Daniel McIntosh in the UMKC Physics and Astronomy Department.