Engineering Nebraska, Summer07
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UNL Computer, Electrical Engineers to Obtain Scholarship Help

Recognized for its strong engineering program, the University of Nebraska–Lincoln was selected by Garmin International Inc. of Olathe, Kan., to participate in its new scholarship and training program.

A charitable foundation established by Dr. Min H. Kao, co-founder and CEO of Garmin International, is sponsoring the Garmin Electrical and Computer Engineering Educational Initiative. The program is designed to help keep the United States competitive in an increasingly technological society by preparing future engineers.

The University of Nebraska Foundation received a commitment of $200,000 from the Kao Family Foundation to benefit UNL students. Beginning in fall 2008, the Garmin scholarships will fund eight $5,000 scholarships per year. The scholarships will benefit five electrical engineering and three computer engineering students at UNL each year.

Scholarship recipients who are juniors or seniors will also be given first consideration for one of more than 75 annual paid internships at Garmin. Housing and health insurance will be provided, and the total package—including the scholarship—is worth up to $20,000 per year for each recipient.

The Kao Family Foundation has committed a total of $10 million for its education initiative to offer 100 scholarships each year at all participating universities.

“It is my hope that this program will help attract the best and brightest students to the field of electrical and computer engineering,” Kao said. “We believe that this combination of scholarship money and a hands-on experience at one of the world’s premier electronics design and manufacturing companies will inspire college students to commit to an engineering career.”

David H. Allen, dean of the UNL College of Engineering, expressed his gratitude to the Kao family and Garmin International.

“This scholarship program will help several deserving students achieve their academic dreams,” Allen said. “The University of Nebraska is committed to providing the next generation of leaders for our country, and donations like this are essential in realizing this goal.”

Seven universities in the Kansas City region with core design engineering curriculums were initially targeted for partnership in the scholarship program, including UNL, Kansas State University, University of Kansas, University of Missouri-Columbia, University of Missouri-Rolla, Iowa State University and Oklahoma State University.

Among the reasons the Kao Family Foundation and Garmin International teamed up to create the initiative is because many industry experts foresee a large increase in the demand for electrical and computer engineering expertise over the next decade. This is largely due to the rapid growth of a technology-based society—a situation also affected by the retirement of many engineers of the baby boomer generation.

Garmin International, a member of the Garmin Ltd. Group of companies, designs, manufactures, markets and sells navigation, communication and information devices and applications, most of which are enabled by GPS technology.

—Robb Crouch, NU Foundation