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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Galveston … it calls me

Photo courtesy of Jack Meyer

A love for the ocean, math and challenges along with an early start introduction to robotics landed ocean engineering freshman Jack Meyer a Dematic FIRST scholarship and the chance to be an Aggie.

When the ocean called, ocean engineering freshman Jack Meyer answered at Texas A&M’s Galveston campus. 

Inspired by an affinity for numbers and challenges, Meyer decided to join his community For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology, or FIRST, robotics team, where he later learned about, applied for and received the Dematic FIRST scholarship. Meyer said the experience inspired him to make a career out of his passions. 
“I always knew that whatever I do career wise, it has to involve the ocean to some avail … I also love math and taking challenges, combine that with the ocean and you have a degree in ocean engineering,” Meyers said.
Meyer said he was drawn to A&M in particular because it offers one of the top ocean engineering programs in the nation, so he was willing to make the move from Arkansas. Another point was that A&M is compatible with the scholarship he received from Dematic FIRST which went toward his textbooks and materials, Meyer said. 
“Ultimately, College Station and Galveston both offered the same degree, but what it came down to was all the facilities and simulators being down here near the water, so to me it just made sense,” Meyer said. “I think also just being able to look outside the window, see the water and being reminded of why I’m here.”
Big questions and sustainable answers have stood at the forefront of Meyer’s mind since he first decided to apply for the Dematic FIRST scholarship, Meyer said.

“Through the application process you were kinda forced to think about the real-world application of why you want to pursue what you are studying … kinda seeing what degrees will allow you to build up certain skill-sets and develop long-term thinking of how you can apply these skills to improve the current situation,” Meyer said. 
Meyer said there are so many unknowns when it comes to the ocean, and he’s zoned in to coming up with new ideas on how we get there.

“One of my research projects was looking at why such a large portion of our life is sustained by the ocean, but there has been such little exploration of it,” Meyer said. “I’d like to work on improving the ability of submersibles to better access the ocean because it’s kinda hard to take care of things or to even care about something you don’t really know about or have access to.” 

Meyer’s aspirations to create and develop solutions align with what Dematic aims to accomplish through its scholarship program. Corporate and Community Affairs Lead at Dematic FIRST, Roy Neill describes Dematic as a 200-plus year organization that has one of the largest integrated solutions providers for warehouses and distribution centers with well-known customer bases, such as Amazon and Kroger.

“Dematic has a robust community outreach program … we have had a relationship with FIRST robotics since about 2018,” Neill said. “FIRST robotics is a global organization that has different programs for all ages, from little kids and their Lego programs all the way to high school and collegiate, and that helps incubate and nurture those young engineer minds in a team environment.”

Dematic received impressive applications from students across the country, including Meyer, and has continued to grow its funds since the program started, Neill said.
“This is our third year doing the Dematic FIRST Scholarship program, so we have developed a scholarship pool of money set aside,” Neill said. “This year, we awarded 12 scholarships for $20,000. It’s so hard to decide, but we are really excited to award those 12 students who are pursuing STEM related careers and to advance their educational opportunities.”

The scholarship is tailored toward those who have participated in a FIRST robotics team, Neill said. 
“We hope this scholarship really helps students continue their education journey and help burden the costs associated with college,” Neill said. “We just hope it lifts a burden a little bit and shows them support while also giving them something for their portfolio.” 

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