Sikorsky Funds UConn Engineering Scholars

Sikorsky employees and UConn alumni
UConn graduates Lauren Salisbury and Brian Rothermich, now Sikorsky employees. (Credit: Sikorsky)

Through a new initiative by longtime partners Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. and the University of Connecticut School of Engineering, Sikorsky will provide $67,000 in scholarships to selected UConn engineering students this fall. Sikorsky Aircraft is a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp. (NYSE: UTX).

“We have a strong alumnae base of UConn graduates at Sikorsky and establishing this program at UConn has been a top priority,” said Dulcy O’Rourke, Sikorsky’s Research & Engineering Manager of University Relations. “With such a strong representation of UConn graduates already working at our company, the potential is there for this initiative to grow.”

UConn’s engineering graduates are an integral part of Sikorsky’s workforce. Many began their professional work experience at Sikorsky while they were students at the university.

“I personally benefited from Sikorsky’s commitment to engineering education when Sikorsky sponsored my Ph.D. research at UConn,” said Michael R. Urban, Ph.D., structural analysis manager at the company. “Sikorsky’s support allowed me to obtain a UConn doctorate degree that I may not have otherwise been able to realize.”

Dean of the School of Engineering Kazem Kazerounian said, “Sikorsky is a willing, and great, partner for us. The variety of scholarships funded will reach a number of our top students and help them here, at UConn, and down the road as they launch their engineering careers.”

O’Rourke said the UConn scholarship program will help Sikorsky “blend its portfolio,” noting the company has a similar program at the University of Maryland.

“UConn is a focus school for Sikorsky because it provides a wealth of engineering talent and leadership for the corporation,” said Doug Shidler, Director, Joint Multi-Role Technology Demonstrator (JMR TD) program and Executive Sponsor for UConn.

Sikorsky’s gifts to UConn’s School of Engineering—and its students—include:

  • Bridge scholarships, totaling $12,000, to enable underrepresented groups in Engineering to attend a five-week residential intensive study of mathematics, chemistry, physics and computer programming the summer before their freshman year.
  • Scholarships for undergraduates, totaling $30,000, designated for mechanical and electrical engineering students in their sophomore through senior years. The scholarship will follow a promising student throughout his/her undergraduate education, contingent upon the student remaining in one of these majors and maintaining an overall grade point average (GPA) of at least 3.5.
  • A graduate student fellowship, totaling $25,000, will be awarded to top graduate students in mechanical or electrical engineering to create a pipeline of refined expertise recruited from the best young engineering graduate students. Fellows may be invited, but are not required or entitled, to work beside UConn faculty on Sikorsky research.

Recent Sikorsky hire Lauren Salisbury, another UConn graduate, added that her engineering coursework at UConn, sponsored by Sikorsky, provided “the practical engineering skills that I am using now.”

As a UConn alumnus and long-time Sikorsky engineer, Technical Fellow Paul Inguanti added, “I am excited that Sikorsky is expanding UConn’s School of Engineering scholarship funding. Sikorsky must excel compared to global competitors by building the best helicopters in the world, and to accomplish that goal we must attract and retain engineers who have a passion for solving the toughest technical problems.”

And Brian Rothermich, a recently hired blade design engineer, said, “UConn prepared me to make the transition from being a full-time student to an effective practicing engineer at Sikorsky immediately after I graduated. Many of my professors at UConn previously worked in the aerospace industry, which provided an opportunity to learn how concepts learned in school apply to real-world engineering.”

“Sikorsky’s generous gift will benefit our top achieving engineering undergraduate and graduate students, and helps us in our overall effort to increase the number of students who receive financial aid,” said Josh Newton, president of the UConn Foundation.