Woodworking students earn scholarships

Three woodworking students at the University of Rio Grande (Ohio) and Rio Grande Community College received academic scholarships in December. Program director Eric Matson says these financial rewards make the program affordable for current and prospective students.

“Our students have to purchase their own hand tools, finishing supplies, hardware and lumber, so there are a lot of extra costs involved with our program and these [scholarships] are to help them out with that,” says Matson.

The post-secondary school offers a certificate and an associate’s degree program in fine woodworking, as well as a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering. Three scholarships are awarded annually through endowments set up by local supporters, says Matson. They are typically only offered to second-year recipients who show a dedication to a lifetime of woodworking.

“The scholarships are competitive. Students from Ohio get first preference, but it’s really more about their workmanship and whether they want to truly pursue it as a career,” says Matson.

Program enrollment has increased as a result of the scholarship offerings. The current class has 24 students, up from 18 in 2010. The program has facilities to accommodate 28 students.

Scholarship recipients include second-year students Jeffrey Hillger from Wellston, Ohio; Shaun Hromada from Dayton, Ohio, and Ed Ward from Jackson, Ohio. Hillger and Hromada say they hope to work for furniture manufacturers after graduation, while Ward plans to work for a company that builds yacht interiors.

Contact: University of Rio Grande, 218 North College Ave., Rio Grande, OH 45674.Tel: 800-282-7201. www.rio.edu

This article originally appeared in the February 2012 issue.