Pacific Coast Chapter Gives Scholarships; Two Winners Interned for PDCA Members

Through funds raised during the successful Pacific Coast Chapter Scholarship Shoot in April, the organization is awarding six scholarships to students on the West Coast who are pursuing higher education in construction and/or engineering disciplines. Each of the following students is receiving a $2,000 scholarship available for the 2023 fall semester at their respective schools. 

Part of the application process for hopefuls who pursue this scholarship is to share information and documentation about their experiences, to date, and their plans for the future. Meet the 2023 Winners of the Pacific Coast Chapter Scholarship:

Ben Nguyen
Through a sponsorship from his summer internship employer and PDCA member Pacific Pile & Marine (PPM), Hiep (Ben) Nguyen wins a Chapter scholarship. The award comes in time for his 4th year at University of Washington (UW) where he is pursuing a bachelor's degree in civil engineering, concentrating in heavy civil and sustainable construction. A native of south Vietnam where he watched and used numerous buildings founded by driven piles, Ben has developed a passion to contribute to the built environment. To supplement his application to the Chapter, Ben submitted enthusiastic reference letters from a professor from UW who said he 'embodies the intent of this scholarship,' and his internship supervisor at PPM who remarks that his 'potential is limitless.' One look at his credentials, and we can see this young man is going to be an asset to the pile driving industry.
Roan Fettig
Roan Fettig also lists work experience from a PDCA member company on his Chapter scholarship application. His past employer, Vortex Marine Construction, Inc. praised his qualities of 'dependability, conscientiousness, and thoughtfulness,' saying he 'demonstrates creative problem-solving skills.' Earlier this year, Roan achieved Eagle Scout, graduated Campolindo High School in Moraga, CA, and started his freshman year at Montana State University where he pursues a degree in Civil Engineering. He has amassed an impressive resume to date, which includes competing in numerous sports and volunteering at a community food bank and as a youth coach. He has a rare and impressive history of advancement and in the Boy Scouts of America organization. His high school guidance counselor endorsed Roan, saying 'he has all the attributes that will make him successful in life.'
Will Millette
As he begins his third year at Colorado State University as a student in Construction Management, Will Millette has achieved an impressive GPA, but also scheduled himself a challenging fall semester schedule where he has classes and labs including materials testing, visual arts, business law and ethics, and calculus, to name a few. With a heavy load like this, it is no surprise that in her reference letter for his Chapter scholarship application package, his high school math teacher said he 'was constantly striving to improve his skills and prove his mastery of the given subject.' Will also has a history of success outside of academics. He was an award-winning, multi-sport high school athlete who captained his soccer team. The Walnut Creek, CA native also found time to develop work skills through performing part-time jobs in an iron works shop, a real estate office, and a construction company. 
Robert Leerkes, Jr.
By 19 years old, Robert Leerkes, Jr. has built a resume that includes achievements from FEMA, Skills USA, and the Arizona Career and Technical Education Quality Commission. Now, in his first-year student at Northern Arizona University where his is enrolled in the civil engineering program, he starts with numerous credits from his time as a dual-enrolled student at Williams Field High School and Maricopa Community College. His resume also includes experience as a formal tutor to math and science students, a volunteer assistant to the high school engineering department, and part time work with a Phoenix-area traffic control company. He earned a Chapter scholarship endorsement letter from a past instructor from the Federal Dept. of Homeland Security who gave a glowing review of Robert's time in his class, noting he is a 'talented, intelligent student with charisma, confidence, and strong values.'
Ben Schussel
As he begins his first semester at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo where he is studying Construction Management, Benjamin Schussel earned the Chapter scholarship based on his academic successes at Mission Oak High School in Tulare, CA. He built an enviable resume that includes extra-curricular pursuits in athletics and community service, and part-time work at Rio Blanco Dairy, Tulare City Parks and Rec, and Stacked Bar and Grill. In his application essay, Ben states that he maintains a keen interest in construction industry technologies such as Building Information Modeling (BIM), virtual reality, and drone utilization, all which can enhance driven pile foundation installation. According to his high school science teacher, who notes his high degree of 'self-motivation', she says Benjamin 'displays initiative, leadership, and a natural inclination to help others.'
Adam Schussel
A Tulare, CA native, Chapter scholarship winner Adam Schussel graduated from Mission Oak High School and begins college at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. The freshman majoring in construction management brings a diversified set of experiences, having worked for his hometown park district as a swim instructor and lifeguard, and worked at an area dairy where he performed painting and general labor. A scholar and an athlete, he won the Future Engineer Award for his coursework and Best Defensive Player the school's water polo team. A former teacher summed up Adam by saying "This kid is the type of student every teacher wishes to have: affable, intelligent, and respectful." In our estimation, he has the makings of a future driven pile foundation construction leader!

Posted in Chapter News.

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