The National Electrical Contractors Association awarded its annual scholarship to five Youngstown State University students.
Jason Nutt, Michael Currao, Kalen Wallace, Ethan Parks and David Wright were each awarded a $1,000 scholarship.
NECA’s national and local chapters are dedicated to advancing the electrical construction industry through research and education.
“We’re supporters of the university, and we would really like to see students do well,” said Tom Travers, the executive director of the Mahoning Valley’s NECA chapter and a member of NECA’s scholarship committee.
Parks, a YSU sophomore and the vice president of NECA’s student chapter, said he appreciates NECA’s collaboration with YSU.
“Travers and the rest of the members are a great help,” Parks said.
“They are all in the engineering field every day. They’re able to give us strong critiques and help us develop plans and ideas.”
NECA also donated $10,000 to strengthen forthcoming contributions.
Travers said participation within the chapter was an important factor in the scholarship selection process.
All five students were key members of YSU’s NECA Green Energy Challenge team that competed against more than 30 teams in Las Vegas and won the top prize. YSU’s team created a plan to reduce energy consumption in the Youngstown Historical Center of Industry and Labor.
“NECA wants us to compete with much larger schools, such as Penn State, Georgia Tech and San Diego State,” Parks said.
Currao, a junior, said he hopes to help his team win first place again in this year’s NECA competition.
“We placed turbines on the back side of [the] building to help generate power,” he said. “We also changed out lighting to become more energy efficient.”
The students were also able to speak with potential future employers at the competition.
The Mahoning Valley’s chapter, which was chartered in 1934, is just one of 119 NECA chapters.
“NECA really helps people who don’t already work within the industry. The group gives them the ability to see what kind of work they’ll be doing and who they’ll be doing it with,” Parks said.
After graduation, Parks said he hopes to move up in his family’s company, Joe Dickey Electric.
Currao said he has similar plans, but wants to attend graduate school before searching for a job.
“After graduation, I’d definitely like to get my master’s, then, hopefully, get a position with a large company,” he said.