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Number of ‘Tech Scholars’ grows at Penn College

With support from the National Science Foundation, the number of Tech Scholars at Pennsylvania College of Technology continues to grow.

Eight new students in STEM majors have been awarded scholarships of up to $10,000 per year for a maximum of four years.

Those students join four returning scholarship recipients from 2014, the first year of a five-year grant designed to increase retention, degree completion and career preparation for students in the School of Industrial, Computing and Engineering Technologies.

“We are grateful that the National Science Foundation recognized the college’s commitment to applied technology. The scholarships reward outstanding students who are dedicated to STEM majors and have financial need,” said David S. Richards, professor of physics and principal investigator for the college’s successful grant application.

The $616,417 grant is provided through the NSF’s Division of Undergraduate Education’s Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (S-STEM) program.

To be a Tech Scholar at Penn College, students must be enrolled in one of seven departments: welding, plastics and polymer, electronics and computer engineering technology, automated manufacturing and machining, engineering design technology, information technology or electrical.

“I feel very lucky to have been one of the students chosen to participate in the program,” said second-year recipient Connor L. Winslow, of Blanchard, an information technology sciences-gaming and simulation major. “Originally, I was just happy for some extra money to pay the tuition, but now that I’ve been exposed to what the program is really about, I’ve seen how lucky I am to always have a mentor and other students by my side to help me.”

The Tech Scholar program includes faculty and peer mentoring, advanced tutoring, designated study spaces, special STEM-related workshops, field trips to regional industries, and internships.

“The program has allowed me to meet many individuals from other majors who I would not have gotten the chance to get to know,” said second-year Tech Scholar Kelsey L. Shaak, of Quakertown, an information technology sciences-gaming and simulation major. “It has also given me the chance to be able to connect with others and to experience more than just college itself.”

Christopher R. Zimpelman, a software development & information management major from Reading, doesn’t know if he would be in college without the scholarship.

“I am very grateful for this scholarship,” he said. “I would have had to take out a lot more loans, and it would probably have been a bigger hassle for my parents. I’m honestly not sure what I would have ended up doing if it weren’t for this scholarship.”

In addition to Zimpelman, Shaak and Winslow, Brandon A. Biesecker, an engineering design technology major from Waynesboro, is the other second-year Tech Scholar. To retain the scholarship, students must maintain at least a 3.0 GPA in their major and continue to show financial need.

The eight new Tech Scholars are Alexander M. Barlow, Hanover, welding & fabrication engineering technology; Logan T. Beidleman, Hope Mills, North Carolina, welding and fabrication engineering technology; Rylee A. Butler, Bellefonte, engineering design technology; Colton A. Laughman, New Oxford, manufacturing engineering technology; Nicholas C. Moore, Lock Haven, plastics and polymer engineering technology; Margot S. Rinehart, Downingtown, information assurance and cyber security; Thomas P. Tyler, Vienna, Maryland, welding and fabrication engineering technology; and Ethan M. Yoder, Denver, software development and information management.

“It’s rewarding that we can continue to increase the number of Tech Scholars,” Richards said. “I look forward to watching these students grow in their fields of study and eventually seek STEM careers.”