Meet a Fluid Power Scholarship Winner – April Polston

The NFPA Education and Technology Foundation has awarded 23 $2,000 scholarships to students pursuing fluid power related fields of study.

One of the winners, April Polston, is attending NFPA Power Partner Murray State University. We asked April a few questions about winning the scholarship.

What does winning a Fluid Power Scholarship mean to you? Why did you choose to learn about fluid power? What are your career aspirations? What type of fluid power job do you hope to get after you graduate?

Fluid Power was a foreign concept for me until I enrolled in the Industrial Maintenance program at Somerset Community College. I found my future in fluid power, I found my purpose for tomorrow, and I found a family in friends, colleagues, and educators along the way.

In 2013, I was a military wife, a mother of two special needs children, pursuing a teaching degree. My husband suffered an injury and was medically retired from the Marine Corps in October 2013. I graduated with my first degree in liberal arts in December of 2013 and my family relocated back to Kentucky. By 2016, we were struggling financially. In August of 2016, I enrolled in the Industrial Maintenance Program (IMT) at Somerset Community College, and two months later tragedy struck. On November 16, 2016, my children’s father, my partner, and our Marine died in a car accident. At 30 years old I was alone, raising two young boys and faced with the decision of either dropping out of the IMT program or digging deep and graduating. I had a choice, a responsibility, and an understanding that the Lord didn’t bring me this far to quit. I was exactly where I was meant to be, when I was supposed to be there, and I continued my path to becoming an IMT.

I graduated with honors from the IMT program at SCC. I took a job as a maintenance technician for CIRCOR in Columbia, Kentucky, where we make and distribute hydraulic pumps internationally. I am fascinated with our manufacturing processes, and I have learned so much as a maintenance technician. I want to continue growing my understanding of hydraulics, fluid power, and our pump making processes at CIRCOR. I am currently boots on the floor and my plan is to transition into the engineering department. I want to graduate from Murray State University with a degree in Manufacturing Engineering and use my degree to secure an engineering position at CIRCOR. I want to continue to break the glass ceilings and show my sons that even when the world looks shattered, we can paint the pieces with the beautiful colors of our future.

The Fluid Power Scholarship makes this future a reality. The scholarship will help bridge the gap between a dream and making that dream reality for a single mother who struggles to provide. The scholarship allows me more opportunities to mother my children as I pursue my education to provide them a better tomorrow.

A minimum GPA of 2.5 out of 4.0, 500-word essay, and letter of recommendation were required from each applicant. The NFPA Foundation’s goal is to help graduating high school students, and individuals enrolled in community colleges, technical schools and universities pursue their academic interests in fluid power.

One way NFPA members can get involved with scholarship programs is to volunteer as a judge to serve on the application review committee or mentor a robotics team as they work towards incorporating pneumatics in their designs. This year 16 judges from 13 NFPA member companies reviewed 50 student applications to the Fluid Power Scholarship program. If you are interested in learning more, please contact Haley Nemeth at

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