After Graduation, Steinman Scholar Puts New Career in Drive
When Blake Biederstedt began college, he knew the job market was going to be competitive and a good engineering education would give him a leading edge. He also realized that he and his peers faced the prospects of coming out of school with mounting debt. In 2015, Biederstedt received NSPE’s Steinman Scholarship. The University of Toledo graduate recently shared with PE how the scholarship helped him pursue his engineering degree and start his career with less financial stress.
The $5,000 Steinman Scholarship is awarded annually to a junior in a four-year ABET-accredited undergraduate program. Applicants are evaluated based on their grade point average; internship/co-op experience and involvement in activities; faculty recommendations; and an ethics essay.
Biederstedt’s first introduction to engineering was through his late grandfather’s engineering career. His AP chemistry teacher helped him to narrow down what type of engineering would best suit his skills and interests. “With chemical engineering, I’m not necessarily pigeonholed into doing something super specific,” says the Napoleon, Ohio, native. “I can go into a position dealing with petrochemicals, pharmaceuticals, or manufacturing.” While in college, he took full advantage of the University of Toledo’s mandatory co-op program to figure out which direction he wanted to go as a chemical engineer.
He rounded out his academic life by being involved with the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, the American Chemistry Society, and student government. He was also a member of Omega Chi Epsilon, a chemical engineering professional honors fraternity, and served as a First Year Interest Group Leader, which allowed him to mentor and tutor freshman engineers.
In December, Biederstedt graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor’s in chemical engineering, minoring in chemistry and business administration. “The scholarship helped with books and offsetting some of my tuition,” he says. “I’m very fortunate to make it out of school without any debt. I’m definitely happy to say that.” Biederstedt credits the scholarship application process for exposing him to NSPE’s commitment to protecting the public and supporting the professional engineering community. He also appreciates the Society’s focus on ethics. “Engineers do really make the world a better place, but to do that we have to be responsible citizens of what we are doing,” he says. “If engineers aren’t ethical, we’ll lose public trust and that’s not a good thing.”
In February, he began a full-time position with Honda as a new model quality engineer. He works in a department that serves as a liaison between the plant, research and development, and design teams to make sure that the supplier is ready for mass production when it’s time to roll out the new models. His previous experience with Honda was through the university’s co-op program, as a supplier quality engineer in the color department.
One of the things he enjoys most about his new position at Honda is that he gets to work with a diverse team of professionals. “I never imagined that I would have ended up using my engineering education in this way, but I’m loving it.”
NSPE Scholarship Opportunities
The Society seeks to support promising talent through scholarships for high school seniors, undergraduates, and graduate students in engineering programs.
The Maureen L. & Howard N. Blitman, P.E., Scholarship to Promote Diversity in Engineering
The $2,500 scholarship is awarded annually to a high school senior from an underrepresented ethnic or racial group who has been accepted into an ABET-accredited engineering program at a four-year college or university.
Auxiliary Legacy Scholarship
The $2,500 scholarship is awarded annually to a female undergraduate entering the junior year in a four-year ABET-accredited engineering program.
NSPE-PEPP Albert H. Miller Scholarship Fund
The $2,500 annual scholarship established by the Albert H. Miller, P.E., Memorial Scholarship Fund honors an outstanding engineering student in cooperation with Albert Miller’s alma mater, the University of Arkansas.
The $5,000 scholarship is awarded annually to one undergraduate in his or her junior year in a four-year ABET-accredited engineering program.
PEG Management Fellowship
The $2,500 fellowship is awarded to an engineer pursuing advanced studies in management. It is available to any NSPE member who is an engineer intern or licensed professional engineer from any discipline.
Access more information about NSPE scholarships.