Central Maine Power has given a financial boost to students in the University of Maine’s Electrical Engineering Technology Program.
The public utility company, which has hired many UMaine graduates over the years, provided a gift and four-year pledge for annual scholarships for four or more deserving undergraduates representing all class levels from first-year to seniors. The scholarships may be renewable for four years based on satisfactory academic performance and continued enrollment in the EET program.
“Maine companies are already competing for people with degrees and experience in power engineering, and I think we’ll see new opportunities in the state’s emerging renewable energy industries,” said Sara Burns, president of Central Maine Power. “We want to help the university attract top students to the EET program, and we’re especially hopeful that these scholarships will be used to encourage young women to pursue careers in the industry.”
Six EET students have received the first Central Maine Power Electrical Engineering Technology Scholarships. They are: sophomores Jack Bruce and Tyler Harvey; juniors Ben McPheters and Patrick Buchanan; and seniors Abby Snow and Brandy Chase. Two more scholarships will be awarded to first year students. The scholarships may be renewable for four years based on satisfactory academic performance and continued enrollment in the EET program.
“These scholarships will allow us to recruit and retain students and provide a continuous source of talent,” said Paul Villeneuve, assistant professor of electrical engineering technology. Many EET students are the first in their family to attend college and these families often lack the financial capabilities to support their children’s education, he pointed out.
“Scholarships will help these students pay for a portion of their schooling.”
Judith Pearse, associate professor and coordinator of the electrical engineering technology program, called CMP’s gift “a wonderful boost.
“We’ll certainly use it to attract and retain exceptional students who can be assets on the CMP team someday,” she said. “With many changes occurring in the power industry and many people retiring, we need qualified power engineers in Maine.”
CMP Vice President of Technical Services Stephen Robinson ’80 said his company is excited about helping to support the College of Engineering and build the next generation of engineer leaders.
“UMaine is where we look first for potential hires. UMaine graduates come to us with a strong educational and technical foundation. They’re quick learners and they’re enthusiastic. “
Across the country, power engineering programs are “few and far between,” Robinson said. Many utility companies in other states must convince universities to create these programs to fill the demand.
“We at CMP feel very fortunate because UMaine has an engineering program that already boasts a strong power component,” he said.
Robinson, who handed out the scholarship awards to the six students during a recent ceremony, said it turned out to be a wonderful way for CMP to have a presence.
“It was fun for me personally as a past student of the program,” he added. “I was able to see a few old friends and make some new ones.”
Scholarship recipients said after the event that they greatly appreciated the financial shot in the arm from CMP.
“This will be very helpful,” said Jack Bruce. “I really had to struggle this year. Now I won’t have to worry so much about tuition.”
Patrick Buchanan seconded that notion. “This is a huge help to me, especially as an older student who’s on my own.”
Based in Augusta, CMP delivers more than 9 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity yearly to 600,000 retail electric customers in central and southern Maine. CMP’s 11,000-square-mile service area contains about 78 percent of Maine’s population.