As a young child, Ryan Rogers found inspiration under the hood of the family car working alongside his father, an experienced mechanic. He realized that he possessed a knack not just for figuring out how things worked, but for figuring out how to make things work better. This ability brought the 18-year-old Eugene native to Oregon State University this fall as a first-year engineering student.
Rogers was searching online for scholarships when he learned about one of the largest programs in the country, the Buick Achievers Scholarship, funded by the General Motors Foundation. He applied, and won the prestigious Buick Achievers National Scholarship. Awarded to only 100 students across the country, the $25,000 annual scholarship is aimed at promising engineering students. His winning essay focused on his interest in alternative energy and discovering more sustainable power sources.
“I plan to study mechanical or chemical engineering and to use my knowledge to get a job researching new materials and new techniques for storage of energy,” he wrote in his essay. “I am excited to work toward discoveries to make cars more sustainable and affordable. I want to help push the automotive industry positively into the world of tomorrow.”
GM awarded 1,100 college scholarships this year, but only 100 are national, representing a highly select group of promising scholars. Rogers is the only student from an Oregon high school or attending an Oregon college or university, public or private, to win the national recognition this year.
“Through the Buick Achievers Scholarship Program, the GM Foundation is able to make a significant investment in the next generation of our country’s leaders and innovators,” said GM Foundation President Vivian Pickard in a statement announcing the award.
Rogers also earned the Presidential, Engineering Dean’s and Honors College scholarships from Oregon State and other scholarships from South Eugene High School, all of which will help cover his cost of college.
He had his pick of colleges, but Oregon State was his top choice. He was first attracted to the school through visits to Ultimate Frisbee tournaments on campus, but it was the College of Engineering’s excellent reputation that ultimately attracted him to Corvallis.
Rogers is an avid athlete and outdoorsman, but he still finds time to tinker in the garage with his father, who recently retired from United Airlines. They recently spent time repairing the motor of a jet ski, and found their roles somewhat reversed. “It’s gone from him telling me what to do, ” he said, “to me sometimes telling him what to do.”
–Story by Romel Hernandez