Forced to drop out of college after a year, due to a lack of money, Geoffrey Mandell joined the U.S. Air Force and became an aircraft mechanic. But he yearned to study aerospace engineering.
After being injured in Afghanistan, he returned to the states and eventually enrolled in the aerospace engineering program at Embry-Riddle’s Daytona Beach Campus. There was one problem: His GI Bill® did not cover all of his educational and living costs.
Earlier this year, Mandell learned he had been selected for a Boeing Scholarship.
“For Boeing to recognize me and the hard work I have put in—not only the past couple of years here at Embry-Riddle, but in the years during my enlistment—is an incredible feeling,” said Mandell. “I am truly grateful.”
Mandell was one of several scholarship recipients who met with The Boeing Company representatives at a March 30 luncheon hosted by Embry-Riddle at its Daytona Beach Campus.
“It’s a huge honor for such a large company to recognize students at this university and it really helps financially,” said Alessandra Carno, a junior aerospace engineering major who also received a Boeing College of Engineering scholarship.
The world's largest aerospace and defense manufacturer, Boeing is a significant donor to the university and top employer of its graduates. According to Brian Hoefig (’86, DB; ’97, ’98, WW), who is director of operations for the 737 Delivery Center and the focal liaison for Embry-Riddle partner programs at Boeing, more than 4,200 Boeing employees are Embry-Riddle alumni.
“Boeing really thinks highly of this school and looks to hire its leaders,” Hoefig said. The company also spends significant funds annually for tuition reimbursement through its Learning Together Program for employees studying at Embry-Riddle’s Worldwide Campus, he said.
Boeing, which celebrates its centennial July 15, 2016, has donated generously to Embry-Riddle since 1993, according to the university’s office of development. Annually, Boeing supports 36 student scholarships and several student organizations focused on engineering, aviation and aerospace at both the Daytona Beach and Prescott campuses.
“It’s about giving students an opportunity to fulfill their dreams in education, dreams that they may not realize if they weren’t given a little bit of assistance,” said Hoefig, a 29-year employee at Boeing. “And it really helps us enhance our future pipeline of leaders.”
"Boeing really thinks highly of this school and looks to hire its leaders."
The company also funds university outreach and retention programs, which include the support of several student organizations and STEM-related summer programs at both residential campuses.
“The Boeing scholarship continues to be one of the university's most successful and important scholarship programs, while support of the student organizations allows students to extend their education beyond the classroom,” said Chris Lambert, senior executive director of development at Embry-Riddle.
Boeing also offers summer internships to Embry-Riddle students, including hosting 30 interns in 2015 and 45 in 2014. Internships are mainly in engineering, but are also offered in business, information technology and other fields.
“Boeing tops the list of employers hiring Embry-Riddle graduates year after year, which speaks volumes of the strength and value of our relationship,” said Alicia Smyth, executive director of career services for the university.
The company conducts on-campus recruiting, job search preparation programming, and has a newly established Bridge Program, which matches students who are interested in working for Boeing with employees who graduated from Embry-Riddle.
In 2014, Boeing also hosted an immersion trip for nearly 30 students, which allowed them to witness first-hand the operations at its Everett, Wash., facility and to interact with company executives, many of whom are Embry-Riddle alumni.
Employees at Boeing also serve on campus advisory boards and as adjunct faculty at Embry-Riddle’s residential and Worldwide campus locations.
Hoefig, who is a member of the Embry-Riddle President’s Advisory Board, said alumni at The Boeing Company are happy to pay it forward for the next generation.
“This school gave me a really great education and positioned me for a great career with a great company,” he said. “We’re excited to be able to provide certain contributions to the school to help students.”
Melanie Stawicki Azam
Development & Alumni Relations