February 26, 2010

Engineering scholarship applications due March 15

by Tim Crosby

CARBONDALE, Ill -- Community college engineering students can earn a valuable Southern Illinois University Carbondale scholarship aimed at training future industrial leaders.

The Blaudow/ATS Technical Leadership Program in Manufacturing is aimed at student engineers who are making the transition from community colleges to SIUC. The scholarship program, administered by the College of Engineering, recruits the top students in engineering from around the state who are finishing up their community college careers.

The program pays a substantial portion of SIUC tuition and gives recipients leadership experience, both in the industry and University training.

Now is the time to apply for the scholarship. The deadline for applications is March 15.

Advanced Technology Systems Inc., its founder, Richard W. Blaudow and his wife, Brigitte, funded the scholarship and leadership training program with a $250,000 donation in 2006, adding another $76,000 to the endowment last year. Also in 2009, the National Science Foundation provided a nearly $600,000 grant to further expand the program, which has shown great success so far.

Blaudow is a 1970 SIUC graduate, earning a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering technology. ATS provides managed services for production equipment maintenance, industrial parts repair and industrial technology infrastructure support for manufacturers.

“There are fewer young people interested in manufacturing, which is disturbing and a challenge for those of us engaged in the industry,” Blaudow said. “In addition, the manufacturing environment is becoming more complex. As a result, we need a more educated, technology-savvy work force and leadership skills are required.”

Bruce DeRuntz, associate professor of technology at SIUC, directs the program. He said

Blaudow’s gift is a result of his strong desire to continue expanding the program.

“There is really no greater testament or validation of this program’s merit than to have the National Science Foundation exhibit this level of support,” DeRuntz said. “Our plan is for this program to mature into a leadership development institute with major corporate sponsors who have their own cohort of students participating. They will see the value of this early leadership development through high-potential students.”

Students in all engineering specialties are eligible for the program. To be eligible for the program and scholarship, students must:

• Be a community college graduate transferring to SIUC’s College of Engineering

• Be a U.S. citizen

• Demonstrate leadership accomplishments

• Possess military or entrepreneurial experience

• Demonstrate academic performance

• Demonstrate financial need

Students selected for the program receive a two-year scholarship valued at $9,000 per year, as well as a paid summer internship.

Students interested in applying should go to www.engr.siu.edu/scholarships/transfer.html to download detailed program information and an application. They can also contact DeRuntz at 618/453.7829 or at bruce@siu.edu.