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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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ConocoPhilips donates $1 million for engineering student scholarships

Brittani Zalenski, a sophomore petroleum engineering major, is paying her spring semester fees with a $500 departmental scholarship and the money she earned over the summer through an internship.
“The scholarship didn’t even cover the costs of my books last semester,” Zalenski said. “My books were almost $1,000 and there was one book — it was $100 — that we didn’t even open.”
Students such as Zalenski will now have the opportunity to receive more money by applying for more scholarships.
ConocoPhillips, the nation’s third largest integrated oil company, has donated $1 million for scholarships and fellowships for Texas A&M engineering students. The company cited its interest in forming a closer relationship with industry leaders and assisting students with financial costs and internship opportunities as the reasons for the donation.
Zalenski chose to challenge the odds and apply for a scholarship.
Larry D. Piper, undergraduate adviser for the Department of Petroleum Engineering, said corporations routinely give money to universities and colleges where they recruit future employees. This is one of the largest gifts given by a corporation to A&M in many years, he said.
The Texas A&M Foundation, a private, non-profit corporation that is in charge of all major monetary gifts to the University, will distribute the million-dollar donation according to the donor’s wishes.
“The gift will support student scholarships, fellowships and programs in the Look College of Engineering, College of Geosciences and the Mays Business School, and other programs, such as the SPIRIT Scholars Program,” said Veronica Evans, communication specialist for the Texas A&M Foundation.
Evans said the SPIRIT Scholars Program is a scholarship program benefiting geosciences, engineering and business students interested in energy business careers. With an initial scholarship award of $5,000 or $25,000 per semester, the award is even open to an increase of $1,000 following the completion of successful internships with ConocoPhillips.
Included in the SPIRIT Scholars Program are opportunities for students such as Zalenski to participate in leadership and team building activities with CP employees who will act as mentors, Evans said.
“It seems like a good program,” Zalenski said. “Speaking from experience, just having the experience in the work field before you graduate from school sets up a really good path because you know what you’re getting into and if you want to continue on pursuing that major.”
The program is a win-win situation for A&M and ConocoPhillips, Evans said.
The SPIRIT Scholars Program will allow ConocoPhillips to identify students who will be significant players in the integrated energy industry and correspondingly allow students to benefit from the scholarships and experience the corporation provides.
Zalenski aspires to be one of the few students selected amongst the engineering majors for the program.
“I know that I’ll make a lot of good connections, and the money would really help if I would get a scholarship from that,” she said. “I really need financial aid right now.”

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