Building the talent pipeline

To help boost the region’s workforce, Booz Allen Hamilton funds new scholarship for engineering and computer science students at Wright State

From left: Wright State engineering and computer science students Thomas Hope, Aiden Cox, Cole Chapman, Abby Suel and James Blackburn (not pictured) were selected as the first cohort of Booz Allen Hamilton Scholars.

To say that Aiden Cox is grateful would be an understatement. When Cox, a computer science major at Wright State University, found out that he was one of the first recipients of the new Booz Allen Hamilton scholarship, he was immediately overcome with emotion.

“To me, this scholarship really means a lot,” said Cox. “I have these angels who are investing in me.”

For the team at Booz Allen Hamilton, the scholarship is the company’s latest endeavor in their support of Wright State students.

Over the last several years, Booz Allen Hamilton has been an active corporate partner with Wright State University’s College of Engineering and Computer Science. Many members of the Booz Allen team participated in resume reviews and mock interviews with students. Booz Allen also regularly hires Wright State graduates for full-time employment and current students as interns.

When five first-year engineering and computer science students were selected as the first cohort of Booz Allen Hamilton Scholars, the company invited them for lunch, a tour of their Beavercreek office, and the opportunity to meet senior leadership and current employees who are also graduates of Wright State.

“It was a feel-good moment,” said Michael Bennett, a director in Booz Allen Hamilton’s Global Defense sector. “The students were so appreciative and they asked good questions.”

As Booz Allen Hamilton Scholars, each student receives a $5,000 scholarship. For Cox, who has been working since he was 14 to save money for college, the scholarship provides much-needed financial support as well as validation of his hard work.

“This helps me out so much,” said Cox. “The scholarship is a great motivator. I was motivated before, but this helps even more.”

As a two-time graduate of Wright State, Bennett is thankful to senior leadership at Booz Allen Hamilton for their generous support of the scholarship.

“For me, it was a heartfelt moment as an alum to be involved with this and to be able to quickly secure support,” said Bennett. “It just further makes me feel good about the firm that I work for.”

Darryl Ahner, Ph.D., dean of the College of Engineering and Computer Science, values the perspective and advice that Booz Allen Hamilton provides to the college, as well as its growing financial support.

“Booz Allen Hamilton has been a big part of our community of lifelong learning. They are a corporate partner of ours, but they have obviously gone well beyond that with these five scholarships,” said Ahner. “We’re very appreciative of that.”

For Booz Allen Hamilton, Wright State has provided a much-needed pipeline of student interns who often end up being hired on as full-time employees upon graduation.

Bennett began working at Booz Allen Hamilton 37 years ago as a sophomore computer science major at Wright State. He has seen the Booz Allen-Dayton office grow from fewer than 20 employees to more than 600. Over a quarter of the engineering team’s employees are Wright State graduates.

“We need more engineers in the Dayton area. We can’t hire fast enough when it comes to getting more capable engineers,” said Bennett.

Interns from Wright State are able to work year-round at Booz Allen Hamilton, and the company is flexible with allowing interns to set their work schedules around their school schedules.

“It’s more impactful for us to have year-round interns and then extend full-time offers to the students before they graduate. This allows them to hit the ground running after they graduate,” Bennett said. “Wright State, over any university, affords that opportunity for us.”

Bennett also appreciates that Wright State is responsive, willing to adapt, and focused on providing degrees that meet the needs of the region’s employers.

“They have listened and they have responded to the needs of the community,” he said.

Ahner looks forward to his college’s continued partnership with Booz Allen Hamilton and to making sure that engineering and computer science students have the appropriate skills and abilities to be high-functioning teammates as soon as they graduate.

“It’s great when they tell us how desirable our graduates are in their workforce pipeline,” said Ahner. “Booz Allen Hamilton gives a lot to Wright State, and I’d like to think that Wright State gives back to them as well with quality employees that help them be a successful company.”

Perhaps one day Cox and some of his fellow scholars will join the workforce at Booz Allen Hamilton. In the meantime, Cox remains focused on excelling in his classes and showing his continued appreciation.

Thanks to the Booz Allen Hamilton scholarship and other scholarships he received from Wright State, Cox no longer has to worry about taking out loans to finance his Spring Semester. Before he left the event at Booz Allen Hamilton, he made sure to express his gratitude to their team.

“I couldn’t show my appreciation enough,” he recalled. “I really wanted to make sure that they know how much they have impacted me as a student.”

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