Meet a Fluid Power Scholarship Winner & Tom Wanke Legacy Awardee – Tatiyana Timmons

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, Tatiyana Timmons, is attending NFPA Power Partner Murray State University, was selected for a Tom Wanke Legacy Fund Award, and is a previous awardee of the Fluid Power Scholarship. Tatiyana provided us with an update on her fluid power education.

What class(es) did you take within the last year that expanded your understanding of fluid power?

Within the last year, I’ve taken a variety of fluid power classes and so far, there are two that have really had an impact on my understanding of the field. Those classes being, Introduction to Fluid Power Systems laboratory as well as Electric Machinery and Controls. These two classes have a very hands-on approach, which I believe has boosted my confidence and broadened my knowledge of the field. One of my favorite Fluid Power labs was designing a hydraulic circuit that synchronized the movement of two cylinders. As one cylinder extended the other retracted at the same time, and what I enjoyed most about this lab was the difficulty in synchronizing the cylinders at just the right time. Currently, I’m enrolled in the Electric Machinery Controls class and taking a lot away from each lesson. As of right now, one of my favorite labs from this class was wiring a three-phase motor to a start/stop switch. This lab allowed me to understand some of the inner-workings of the motor and how it can correlate with the switch. I still have many classes to take from this point on as I’m still a sophomore and I’m sure my takeaways will only continue to grow in the time to come.

Did the class(es) impact your long-term career plans?

If I’m being completely honest, I was a bit hesitant at the beginning of my fluid power track because although I really liked the idea of being in this field, the material at first sight is intimidating. Combining that with the fact that there aren’t many women who choose this path, let alone women of color, I was almost overwhelmed. That being said I definitely feel much more comfortable in my decision in taking this journey. With each course, lesson and lab my confidence in my abilities grows. The more I grasp, the more excited I become to turn my knowledge into a meaningful career. Where I once was unsure of what I wanted for my future as far as an occupation, I now find myself inching closer to that answer every day and I’m positive that it will land me in fluid power.

What are your fluid power educational track/career aspirations?

For the rest of my educational career, I plan to focus heavily on my fluid power classes, especially now that the majority of my general education classes have been taken care of. A few of my upcoming courses include Programmable Logic Controllers and Robotics & Motion Controls, both of which I’m extremely thrilled for. As of right now, I stay involved with Murray State’s Career Fair along with the team competing in the NFPA Fluid Power Vehicle Challenge. I plan on hopefully acquiring an internship by networking through these two events as well as through hiring websites. With any luck, my plan is to intern with a company that I really enjoy in a state that I’d like to settle in so that by the time I graduate I might have the opportunity to work for a job that I love in an area that I’m happy 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.

Through the Thomas Wanke Legacy Fund Awards, the NFPA Education and Technology Foundation aims to increase both the number of students studying fluid power, and also the quality of fluid power education in our nation’s universities – two goals clearly aligned with and ennobled by Tom’s life and legacy.

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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