Meet a Fluid Power Scholarship Winner – Athena Shier

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, Athena Shier, is attending the University of South Carolina. We asked Athena a few questions about winning the scholarship.

What does winning a Fluid Power Scholarship mean to you?

I will be using this scholarship to pay for my tuition this year, which will not only take immense anxiety
and pressure off my shoulders, but it will directly help me in the future. Just a few weeks ago I was
intending to take out thousands of dollars in federal and private loans to pay for tuition, room, and board, but now thanks to NFPA, I’m one step closer to being loan free!

Why did you choose to learn about fluid power?
I chose to learn about fluid power for a variety of reasons. I have always been passionate about mechanics of all kinds, but I truly became interested through competitive robotics. Through my time as a team member (and eventually mentor) at FTC team garnet squadron, I truly developed an interest in all things engineering, from mechanical power transmission and pneumatics, all the way up to clean power generation. 

What are your career aspirations? What type of fluid power job do you hope to get after you graduate?

I am currently working as a summer intern for ABB, where I am helping to design EV chargers. Using both the skills I learn at UofSC and also through summer jobs, I intend to develop my skills to be the best engineer I possibly can. After graduation, I hope to continue doing what I love, prototyping and mechanical design, and I am open to working at a wide variety of firms as long as I can do what I love! 

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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