Officials with Crane Composites, the world’s leading provider of reinforced composite materials for the building and transportation markets, visited NIU on Thursday, April 5, to meet some of the students who have benefited from Crane scholarships.
Crane Composites has offered 60 scholarships to students since 2010 in the College of Business and the College of Engineering and Engineering Technology. Company representatives visited with business students Iva Pouhaleva, Calen Lambert, Jenee Carlson and Zoya Khan and with engineering students Haley Tribo and Brandon Palfalvi.
“Without this scholarship, I wouldn’t be here,” Carlson said. “My goal is to get through school debt-free, which I’ve been able to do so far, but last year I worked three jobs. So this scholarship is really appreciated.”
Palfalvi said donors should realize their gifts provide more than financial assistance. He said he didn’t think he could have landed his internship or taken advantage of other opportunities without the boost of confidence his scholarship gave him.
“No one talks about the emotional support, which has such a big impact,” he said. “It means so much that someone believes I can do that. Someone believes I can be better and my education is worth investing in.”
Crane Composite President John O’Sullivan, a 1987 graduate of NIU’s accountancy program, said NIU paved the way for his success.
“NIU was very beneficial to me,” he said. “I had an internship experience and wouldn’t have been able to achieve what I have without it.”
O’Sullivan said Crane Composites wants to provide students with professional experiences like internships as well as with scholarships. He said both students and businesses benefit from those relationships.
“We have students very well supported, thanks to your generosity, but that is only a start. I’m excited about how we can take that start and build on it,” said College of Business Dean Balaji Rajagopalan.
“It’s a great opportunity for our students,” agreed College of Engineering and Engineering Technology Dean Donald Peterson. ”Working with companies is so important to us because it keeps our curriculum real as we train the workforce of the future.”
O’Sullivan was joined by Vice President of Supply Chain Bart Kittleson, Vice President of Human Resources Paul Storc and Recruiting Specialist Joan Carrigan. After lunching with students, the group toured Barsema Hall and the Engineering Building.