SME Education Foundation Scholarship Award Amounts Increased to Break Down Financial Barriers to Manufacturing Careers
The SME Education Foundation will award 163 scholarships to students from 34 U.S. states and two Canadian provinces pursuing a post-secondary education in manufacturing, engineering or related fields in 2023. Select recipients were recognized at the SME International Awards Gala hosted by the organization on June 5.
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Select winners of the 2023-24 E. Wayne Kay Endowed Scholarship, LaRoux K. Gillespie Directors Scholarship and Dr. Irving Pressley McPhail Endowed Scholarship were recognized at the SME International Awards Gala on June 5. From left to right: Justin S. Fouts, Welding Engineering/Technology major; Jake Mahoney, Mechanical Engineering/Technology major; Bennett L. Schirmer, Mechanical Engineering/Technology major; Shane Williams, Mechanical Design Engineering/Technology major; Aliza Khan, Mechanical Design Engineering/Technology major; Carter J. Drey, Machine Tool Technologist major; Isabella Weingatz, Mechanical Engineering/Technology major; Kyle Vonasek, Mechanical Engineering/Technology major. (Photo: Business Wire)
This year, $913,800 - a record amount - was awarded to graduating high school seniors, undergraduates and graduate students as part of the Foundation's mission to inspire, prepare and support the next generation of manufacturing and engineering talent. This year, more students than ever before applied with 1,404 applications reviewed. Since 2005, the Foundation has awarded over $18 million to over 5,000 desrving students.
The SME Education Foundation Scholarship recipients are selected through a rigorous review process and evaluated by a team of over 200 academic and industry professionals.
Recently, many of the Foundation's scholarship programs have been modified to improve impact. Under the direction of the Foundation Board of Directors, award amounts were increased, need-based criterion were incorporated, and multiyear renewing awards were introduced.
"I'm so excited about these changes that significantly enhance our scholarship programs, that exist to break down financial barriers to careers in manufacturing," said Rob Luce, vice president of the SME Education Foundation. "In addition to making sure that the students who need it most are the ones receiving funds to earn an associate or bachelor's degree, we're also improving the likelihood that recipients complete their degrees, by providing more financial support throughout their time in an educational program."
As a response to the ongoing issue of college affordability, this year's minimum award is $2,500. Similarly, the average award has more than doubled to $5,274, with 70% of recipients receiving an award over $5,000 this year.
Program participation among women and students of color increased in 2023, with a record number of applications from these underrepresented groups pursuing manufacturing and engineering education. Awards to these groups remained strong, doubling and tripling the historical average, continuing the SME Education Foundation's Diversity, Equity and Inclusion initiative started in 2021 with the creation of the Irving P. McPhail scholarship fund and many new promotional partnerships.
Learn more about the Foundation scholarship recipients and their achievements here.
The SME Education Foundation will begin accepting scholarship applications for the 2024-25 school year on Nov. 1. For additional information or to register and receive application reminders, please visit smeef.org/scholarships.
About the SME Education Foundation
As the philanthropic arm of SME, the SME Education Foundation inspires, prepares, and supports the next generation of manufacturing and engineering talent. Established in 1979, the Foundation works with public and private partners to expose youth to modern manufacturing technologies, train students on relevant manufacturing concepts and processes, and subsidize their pursuit of a post-secondary education in the manufacturing or engineering field. All Foundation programming seeks to increase engagement with historically underrepresented populations to help diversify the manufacturing industry.
We believe in the power of technology and the innovation of people to drive competitiveness, advance our nation and solve the world's greatest problems. A nonprofit organization established in 1932, SME leads the manufacturing ecosystem to elevate manufacturers, academia, professionals, and the communities in which they operate. We build the bridge from today to the future by developing the next generation of manufacturing talent and capabilities. And we accelerate the widespread adoption of technologies that can propel manufacturing operations into excellence. Learn more at sme.org, follow @SME_MFG on Twitter, or facebook.com/SMEmfg.
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