Huntington Ingalls scholarship helps hundreds of students, from pre-K to college

Huntington Ingalls scholarship helps hundreds of students, from pre-K to college

Matt Jones, Daily Press

A student from Virginia pays about $21,290 a year to attend Virginia Tech, including room and board. But for junior Natalie Ebreo and her family, the burden is a bit less thanks to Huntington Ingalls Industries.

Ebreo’s father is a technical writer for AMSEC LLC, and her uncle is an electrical engineer at Newport News Shipbuilding. This qualified her for a scholarship as part of a program that gives scholarships for both pre-K and post-secondary costs.

“I have a younger sister that goes to Tech,” said Ebreo, 20, of Virginia Beach. “It allows my family to really focus on education.”

This year, HII hopes to grant awards to as many as 100 children of full-time HII employees, including $3,000 each for up to 50 pre-K students. The fund, mostly comprised of a donation by president and CEO Mike Petters, gives $3,000 toward four-year program costs or $1,500 toward two-year program expenses.

“One of our top priorities is workforce development,” said Duane Bourne, manager of media relations for Newport News Shipbuilding. “So, we established the scholarship to help the children of our employees get a jump start, or get the help that they need.”

Petters, a Newport News resident who joined Newport News Shipbuilding in 1987, asked the company’s Board of Directors to reduce his salary to $1 and dedicate the rest of the money to the scholarship in 2016. He elected to do the same last year, as well. Petters still receives compensation, mostly stock awards, based on his salary of more than $980,000 in 2015. That year, Petters received more than $8 million in total compensation.

In the past two years, the fund has given out 220 scholarships. Last year, HII awarded $270,000 and renewed 33 collegiate scholarships from 2016.

“I was awarded two scholarships in my life that totally changed my trajectory,” Petters, who has a bachelor’s degree from the U.S. Naval Academy and a MBA from the College of William and Mary, said in a news release. “It’s my hope that this scholarship program will do the same for many of our extended HII family.”

Scholarship America, which administers scholarship and educational support funds across the country, manages the program and outside donations. That group selects the recipients, not HII employees. For the pre-K program, awards are given based solely on financial need; the college program also considers a student’s academic record and other factors.

Employees must have a total household income at most three times federal poverty guidelines and plan on enrolling a student who is 4 or 5 years old as of Sept. 30, 2018. Students are eligible for the post-secondary scholarship if they are under 25 and not employed by HII in a position with tuition benefits, according to the college and school readiness applications.

Children of elected or appointed officers, employees making more than $250,000 and employees with less than two years at HII are ineligible.

Applications for the 2018–19 academic year are due April 16. Decisions will be announced in late May, according to the Scholarship America applications. To learn more or to apply, visit huntingtoningalls.com/employees/hii-scholarship-fund/.

Granting the scholarship to Ebreo might come full circle for HII too. She is applying to a mechanical engineering internship in the Newport News shipyard.

“I’m hoping that goes well too. It helped me look more into the company, since it is a very good one,” Ebreo said.

 

Watch the Video