Spencer Tiegs of Waukesha, Wis., has been named the first winner of the NFPA Robotics Challenge Scholarship, a new scholarship program that launched with the 2016-17 school year.
Spencer just graduated from Waukesha West High School. During his senior year, he took PLC classes at Waukesha County Technical College and has held an internship at a local engineering company for the last two years. This fall, he will attend the Milwaukee School of Engineering for Mechanical Engineering. He will be part of MSOE’s University Scholars Honors Program.
The scholarship was created in support of the FIRST® mission and is a merit-based scholarship for $40,000 ($10,000 per year for four years) available to high school seniors who participate in the FIRST® Robotics Competition. The scholarship can be used to study engineering at any accredited technical college or university in the United States.
NFPA received 75 applications from students around the United States. A review team of 11 NFPA members reviewed these applications, which included an essay and recommendation letter, to narrow the field down to three finalists. Phone interviews with the finalists were conducted before Spencer was chosen as the winner.
The experience has helped shape Spencer’s career goals, and the scholarship will help him get closer to achieving them.
“The FIRST Robotics Competition, and my engineering internship, changed and solidified my desired career field to mechanical engineering,” Spencer said. “My experience with FIRST Robotics is unparalleled, and my future is brighter because of my participation. Robotics was the main catalyst in my pursuit of engineering, and it has heavily influenced my future. The skills and experiences I’ve gained will benefit me in school, career, and personal life, and will stay with me for a lifetime. Because it’s up to me to put myself through school, this scholarship will help kickstart me financially through college. What that means for me is that I’m able to give back to FIRST and the field of engineering sooner with both my time and money. Also, in college, I’ll be able to focus more on my studies, learning through activities outside of school, and mentoring FIRST teams.”
The review team included Larry Davis of Daman Products, Jim Kaas of Iowa Fluid Power, Tony Oran and Frank Langro of Festo, Andrew Kleitsch of Caterpillar, Charles Werdehoff and Bradlee Dittmer of IMI Precision Engineering, Barb DeCesare of HydraForce, Jonathan Steigerwald of Aventics, Kimberly Clark of Hydradyne, and Jordan Kimelman of Disney. Many thanks to everyone who helped in creating and promoting this scholarship, reviewing applications, and determining the winner.