During these uncertain times, finances can be a struggle, especially for college students. Thanks to a scholarship program from LyondellBasell, 10 students at San Jacinto College's LyondellBasell Center for Petrochemical, Energy, & Technology will each receive $2,500 toward their process technology or instrumentation degree.
Under the guise of a student panel about CPET's first academic year, students joined a Zoom call June 26 that included College leadership and Michael VanDerSnick, senior vice president of Americas manufacturing for LyondellBasell.
After introductions and words from San Jacinto College Chancellor Dr. Brenda Hellyer, Central Campus provost Van Wigginton, and director of CPET Jim Griffin, VanDerSnick told students the real reason for their early morning Zoom meeting.
"You think you're here today to participate in a student panel, but I'm pleased to announce each of you has actually been selected to receive a scholarship to advance either your instrumentation or process technology degree," VanDerSnick said. "LyondellBasell is interested in making sure you get the best education possible and in turn ensuring that when it comes time to recruit students for our operations or maintenance team that you are ready for the workforce."
The 10 students — Kimberly Alencastro, Krista Byers, Emelly Cristino, Matthew Flores, Eric Gerard, Austin Green, Keelie Morgan, Anthony Torres, Brandy Watkins, and Charles Wilson — were chosen based on several criteria.
Each student must have participated and held leadership in either the Process Technology Club or Instrumentation Technology ISA Ship Channel Section, maintained a GPA of 3.0 or higher, and have proven community service.
"We wanted to choose students who are well-rounded and a positive reflection on San Jacinto College," Griffin said. "We considered attendance and punctuality. Are they a team player? Are they an individual starter? I couldn't be prouder of this group of students, especially with the unexpected changes with COVID-19."
The students, many of whom joined the call from their day jobs, were shocked at the news. They will each be able to use the funds to complete their degree plans at no cost to them.
"I was so happy at the scholarship news," said Brandi Watkins, instrumentation student. "My glasses started fogging up and everything! I feel so blessed right now, and I just want to say thank you so much. I don't think I've ever been so thoroughly surprised."
LyondellBasell, which announced its partnership as naming sponsor at CPET's grand opening in September 2019, hopes to continue to strengthen the partnership with San Jacinto College.
"We could not be prouder of these students and their dedication to their education and for being the embodiment of the San Jacinto College values," Hellyer said. "These scholarships provide an incredible opportunity to our students. Our partnership has already done so much to open doors for students and to offer industry-leading resources and networking connections for our future workforce. We're so grateful to LyondellBasell for their commitment to San Jac."