Meet a Fluid Power Scholarship Winner – Christopher Swarner

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, Christopher Swarner, is attending California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. We asked Christopher a few questions about winning the scholarship.

What does winning a Fluid Power Scholarship mean to you?

Winning this scholarship is a great honor. I hope to give back to the community in as many ways as possible, and graduating with less debt will give me more time and resources to dedicate back to Scouts, swim team, and music groups that have built me into who I am today. With this scholarship, I head off to begin my bachelors education which will prepare me for a long career as a Civil Engineer, where I will work with hydraulic systems especially in the utility industry. 

Why did you choose to learn about fluid power?
I have always loved the water and I grew up playing in lakes and swimming as much as possible, hiking to waterfalls and ponds that introduced me to the impact of water carving through rock. When my family traveled, I got to see more feats of engineering and nature, like the Hoover Dam and Niagara Falls. Throughout middle school and high school, I joined a swim team and have found a great deal of joy in the sport. These, combined with my dad’s experience as a wastewater engineer, sparked a curiosity to see what incredible things could be done with the help of fluid power. 

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

After I graduate, I want to go into the Civil Engineering industry. This is a wide field and could take me in many different directions, but I hope to end up working with structures that use advanced fluid and pneumatic systems to create impressive new developments. I have always been eager to learn new math and physics concepts, and I think this field will be the most intriguing to grow my knowledge in. 

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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