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, Benjamin Quade, is attending NFPA Power Partner Iowa State University, and is a previous awardee of the Fluid Power Scholarship. Benjamin provided us with an update on his fluid power education.
What class(es) did you take within the last year that expanded your understanding of fluid power?
Over the last year, I have been very involved with fluid power in my coursework and extracurricular activities. This last year, I took three courses that improved my understanding of fluid power. My first class was a base-level fluid course covering fluid dynamics. Learning fluid dynamics set the basis of my knowledge of fluid power principles and calculations, allowing me to further my education. The next two classes are a pair of classes serving as my senior design projects where I am completing the Fluid Power Vehicle Challenge (FPVC) through the NFPA. Competing in the FPVC has taught me not only to apply the information I have learned but has also pushed me to understand more about fluid power. I had to help calculate the proper size of pumps for our pumps and determine where the largest losses in our circuit design occurred. Learning to read hydraulic circuit designs led me to understand valve diagrams and specifications. My senior design project has given me more exposure to finding and understanding actual components in the industry than any other class could have given me. Learning these skills is useful for future employment so I can understand and find the parts I need immediately.
Did the class(es) impact your long-term career plans?
These classes have impacted my understanding of fluid power and allowed me to pursue careers in the fluid power industry. These classes have taught me how to calculate and solve problems that often appear when working with agricultural equipment. One of the most effective ways to move power to implements is through hydraulic power, so it is very common for hydraulic systems to be used. My opportunity with IFP Motion Solutions Inc. was created through my senior design project and has allowed me to see the scope of fluid power and realize the industry’s versatility. This next semester I will complete the fluid power engineering course to finish my fluid power coursework and prepare for post-graduate employment. I will spend the summer at Hagie Manufacturing as a product development engineer. I will work on hydraulic systems, structural design, and the development of high-clearance sprayers.
What are your fluid power educational track/career aspirations?
After graduating, I want to work for an agricultural equipment manufacturer that allows me to travel to customers and products to learn about other agriculture regions and see new ways of using fluid power. My long-term goal is to eventually transition into part-time work and farm full-time on our family farm.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
NFPA supports student organizations at universities with annual stipend funding to help students learn about fluid power while they work on educational and technical projects. Currently for the 2023-24 academic year, there are 19 universities from across the country participating: If you are looking to get involved with these Fluid Power Clubs, see below for…
Mark your calendars for the NFPA Fluid Power Vehicle Challenge Design and Specification Midway Reviews, happening in December and January. This is a fantastic opportunity for industry members to get engaged and connect with students. The reviews are 45-minute webinar presentations with 10 minutes of Q&A from the judges. During this review, students will showcase…