Meet a Fluid Power Scholarship Winner – Spencer Burke

Programs like the Fluid Power Scholarships are made possible in part by the generous support of industry volunteers as well as NFPA Education and Technology Foundation and Pascal Society donors. Support these efforts by making a donation.

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

Here’s one of the winners, Spencer Burke. Spencer is attending University of Texas at Austin and received the Fluid Power Scholarship’s Robert Mackey Memorial Award. We asked Spencer about winning the scholarship…

What does winning a Fluid Power Scholarship mean to you?
Winning this scholarship means that I can focus on schooling over cost, that I can focus on learning the material and really applying it in projects and clubs, versus merely just learning it to pass the class.  It represents to me that dreams can come true and that a whole community stands behind me, supporting me to pursue my dreams.  Just know that I will not let you down, and I will work day and night to bring us to a better future.  

Why did you choose to learn about fluid power?
I have chosen to learn about fluid power because really it is so applicable in everything we do, and it’s really fascinating.  From rocketry to hydraulics, fluid power is applicable in all branches of engineering, and so learning about it, but specifically in relation to rocketry, has been incredible.  

What are your career aspirations? What type of fluid power job do you hope to get after you graduate?
After I graduate from UT with a degree in Electrical Engineering and Plan II, I plan to work at SpaceX, and specifically, I want to improve the capabilities of current rockets and recycle orbital space debris.  Right now, our rockets, while powerful, are rather expensive, and, if we want to really become a spacefaring civilization, the cost needs to come down significantly, they need to become faster, and finally, they need to be more environmentally friendly.  I definitely foresee fluid power playing a critical role in my future!

The Foundation’s goal is to help individuals enrolled in technical colleges and universities pursue their interests in fluid power. The Fluid Power Scholarship application is available from January 2023 until early April 2023. Please share this opportunity within your network. Additionally, if you would like to serve on the application review committee, please contact Eric Pannell at epannell@nfpa.com.

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