Stephanie Vopelak, a second-year Agricultural Equipment Technology major at SUNY Cobleskill, was one of just seven students from across the country last month to receive the prestigious Paul H. Scholten Memorial Scholarship Award from the Equipment and Engine Training Council (EETC).
The $1,000 award is only available to students in EETC accredited programs. Stephanie’s application and essay stood out among about 35 applications from around the country.
This marks the third year in a row that SUNY Cobleskill students have received the award. In the past two years, it was awarded to Easton Murray, now a junior Agricultural Equipment Technology major.
In her essay, Stephanie describes helping her father, an electrical engineer, on jobs around the house when she was young and challenging gender stereotypes as her interest in agricultural mechanics grew into something more than a hobby. In her junior year of high school, her skill won her second place at the State Future Farmers of America Ag Mechanics Competition at SUNY Cobleskill.
The win, she wrote, “taught me that a person’s gender or background does not determine their future, but rather their passion and courage to fight against the odds.”
Vopelak is an outstanding scholar and active member of the SUNY Cobleskill community. Among her many roles on and off campus, she serves with the SUNY Cobleskill Society of Agriculture Engineers, SUNY Cobleskill Tae Kwon Do, SUNY Cobleskill Post-Secondary Agriculture, and the SUNY Cobleskill Student Judicial Board.
The EETC is a national organization that certifies technicians in the workplace and accredits programs for teaching curriculum related to power equipment. The Paul H. Scholten Memorial Scholarship Award pays tribute to Paul H. Scholten, a founding member of the EEC, its Past President, and a fervent advocate for excellence in power equipment service and repair.