Scholarship helps Detroit engineering student reach graduation day

Scholarship helps Detroit engineering student reach graduation day
Owen Pierce, Class of 2017.

Owen Pierce graduated in May 2017 with a degree in civil and environmental engineering. He discussed his path to Wayne State, his experiences as an undergraduate and receiving the Klaetke Endowed Scholarship.

How did Detroit Public Schools (DPS) shape your education?

It’s been rewarding for me. It’s funny, all I’ve known is DPS, and with all of its ups and downs I still encountered talented teachers who inspired me. I liked the opportunities I had. I played in the school band, I was involved in academic quizzes, they’d plan different field trips for us. Not everyone in DPS comes from a thriving background, and just learning how to deal with those differences is priceless.

What helped you decide to attend Wayne State?

I knew a lot of faculty from working in the Detroit Area Pre-College Engineering Program and having classes here during the summer. I got a chance to stay here for an ACT prep course. That was great. It raised my ACT score and gave me the opportunity to study even further and stay on campus at Ghafari Hall. I had all this exposure to campus before I made my final decision to come here, which made things a whole lot easier.

How has the Klaetke Endowed Scholarship impacted your education?

It’s amazing because I had no idea I was going to be receiving it until it happened. It came at a time where I was struggling with my classes. They were challenging. It definitely motivated me to do better. By having the Klaetke Endowed Scholarship, I was able to pay for fall, winter and the spring/summer semesters. Without it I would not be graduating this May, so that was absolutely amazing.

What has been your experience at Wayne State?

College is a place where you do a lot of growing and changing in a short amount of time, especially staying on campus the majority of the week. This is kind of an intermediate step between that young adult teenage phase and that adult phase, where you’re learning small, important life lessons.

One thing that has been instrumental to my success has been my involvement in the American Society of Civil Engineers. I was introduced to all the seniors at the time, and they were able to bring me into the fold. They were instrumental on giving me information on different instructors, what classes to take, what to avoid, and without that I might not be graduating this May.

What are your plans after graduation?

I want to earn my master’s degree. Right now I think I’ll be coming back to Wayne, since I know a great majority of instructors and I have stuff laid out here. It amazed me that I was able to receive the Klaetke Scholarship and have support. The support helped me decide to continue my education.

Going to Wayne State and talking to different young people at my church, it’s fulfilling to me because I’ve always wanted to show that you can have a great education right here in your own backyard. People are starting to realize it’s a hidden gem. I’m glad I was able to have my undergrad career here, and I look forward to continuing graduate school here.

(May 2, 2017)

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