Edwin L. Aguirre
Fifty-seven plastics engineering students recently received financial support from 35 endowed scholarship funds for the 2010ߝ11 academic year. The monetary values vary, but most of the scholarships are in the range of $1,000 per academic year.
“The Plastics Engineering Department has a long history of providing scholarships to its students,” says department Chair Robert Malloy. “This is something we are all very proud of. Many of these scholarship funds have been created thanks to the extreme generosity of our alumni, either collectively or as individual family funds. Several funds have been endowed by corporations, such as Autodesk Moldflow, Nypro, Sterilite, Eastman Kodak, New England Keyboard, Freudenberg NOK and Visteon Corporation.”
Malloy says 80 percent of the current recipients are undergraduates while 20 percent are graduate students.
“One hundred percent of those who applied received scholarships,” he says.
Among the recipients are students from other countries, including India, Indonesia, Thailand and Israel. A number of academic awards were also given out, including the Hanser Gardner graduate and undergraduate technical book awards for polymer materials, processing and design.
“This spring semester eight faculty members have established new endowed scholarship funds,” says Malloy. “The Plastics Engineering Department has a 100 percent faculty and staff giving rate, which is really important because if our alumni know that we believe scholarship support is a priority, they are more likely to follow our lead.”
He says many of their students struggle financially, many of them ending up working an excessive number of hours, which hurts their ability to do well in class and impacts the department’s retention rates. He believes scholarship support is one way to limit the number of hours students work.
“I am pleased that we are able to reward and honor our students with these awards and at the same time provide financial assistance in these difficult times” says Malloy. “Raising funds for scholarships is one of our departmental priorities. My dream would be to provide scholarships for all plastics engineering students who maintain an appropriate GPA.”
The plastics engineering program at UMass Lowell was founded in 1954 as the very first program of its type in the country and it continues to be a leader in the areas of plastics engineering education and research. The department has a new graduate certificate program in plastics engineering fundamentals that is available online and on campus. For more information, visit plastics.uml.edu.