WSU engineering students receive $5,000 scholarships

SEL scholarship program includes mentorship, professional development, technical seminar opportunities



“SEL’s interested in finding and rewarding students who have a vision for how to serve society with their engineering talents,” said Stephanie Schweitzer, SEL senior vice president of marketing and communications.

LOREN NEGRON, Evergreen editor-in-chief

Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories awarded two WSU students with $5,000 scholarships through its recently launched scholarship program.

WSU engineering students Grace Harris and Alyssa Hovenkotter received the scholarships. 

SEL created its scholarship program this year to support students in their engineering education and careers, said Stephanie Schweitzer, SEL senior vice president of marketing and communications. SEL hopes to award yearly scholarships.

“Engineers are needed around the world,” she said. “We’re interested, as an organization and as an industry, in increasing the pipeline [to have] more young people studying engineering and coming into the workforce.”

The program also provides mentorship, professional development and SEL seminar opportunities to the scholarship recipients, Schweitzer said.

Harris, senior electrical engineering major, said the scholarship helped her pay her student loans. She said the money will help her financially when she graduates this semester.

“I didn’t know that I was going to get the scholarship,” she said. “I had already taken out loans and already paid my tuition. But luckily, with the scholarship, I was able to just pay my loans right back off.”

Harris has been interning with SEL since May. She said she and SEL engineers are working to develop devices that can handle challenges in the renewable energy field.

“I’m hoping I can use my knowledge and my passion for [renewable energy] to hopefully make something happen and make it so that our grid is not only safer, but is also sustainable for the future,” she said.

Harris will continue her SEL internship while she pursues her graduate studies at WSU, she said. She currently serves as president of the Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society chapter and the Institute of Electric and Electronic Engineers chapter at WSU.

Hovenkotter, junior mechanical engineering major, said she is looking forward to the mentorship opportunities she will receive through the scholarship program.

“Having someone in the industry that I can go ask questions to is such a huge help for students like me,” she said.

At WSU, Hovenkotter serves as a student ambassador for the Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture and as a math tutor at the Math Learning Center. She said she is a member of the Society of Women Engineers and the Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society.

Hovenkotter said her involvement in various groups helped her gain internships and build relationships with professionals in the engineering field. She will intern at Microsoft in the summer.

“It also helped me gain hands-on experience, which [are] things you need to take to an internship and your career when you graduate,” she said.

SEL awarded a total of $25,000 to students at WSU, University of Idaho and Idaho State University, said SEL program manager McKenzie Brumet. The company awarded $5,000 each to two WSU and two U of I students. SEL awarded two $2,500 scholarships to ISU students.

Universities select the students they deem fit for the scholarship, Schweitzer said. WSU juniors or seniors who have a GPA of 3.0 or better and are pursuing electrical, mechanical or computer engineering are eligible for the scholarship. Computer science students are eligible as well.

Through SEL’s partnership with the National Society of Black Engineers, the scholarship program invested $20,000 to support engineering students at Georgia Institute of Technology, Clemson University and Purdue University, Schweitzer said.

“SEL’s interested in finding and rewarding students who have a vision for how to serve society with their engineering talents,” she said. “We’re also interested to get to know students who have ideas about why society needs more engineers and how they’d like to contribute.”