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‘Boils down to ‘everything’

Kohler scholarship has profound impact on engineering student

Student Life

By Jackey Locke

A first-year Memorial student is the 2022–23 recipient of the Peter Kohler Engineering Scholarship.

Ethan Smith holds and envelope and shakes the hand of Steve Mercer in a room with panelled walls. They are both wearing name tags.
From left, Ethan Smith receives the Peter Kohler Scholarship Award from Steve Mercer, a representative of the Peter Kohler Engineering Scholarship.
Photo: Submitted

Ethan Smith grew up in Outer Cove, N.L., and graduated from Gonzaga High School in St. John’s.

The late Peter Kohler established the annual student award, which is valued at $50,000 with $10,000 awarded annually for five years.

Renewal is dependent on the recipient continuing engineering studies at Memorial and maintaining scholarship standing.

‘A good position’

In high school, Mr. Smith prioritized staying on top of his school work and maintaining a high academic standing.

“I wanted to put myself in as good a position as possible going into university to try to earn awards like this one, so I could take a load off my parents’ shoulders,” he said. “During the pandemic, I had a lot of free time, which I dedicated to reading about all sorts of different topics to expand my knowledge on the subjects I found interesting.”

“I could go on and on about how much this means to me, but it all boils down to ‘everything.'” — Ethan Smith

Mr. Smith says he is grateful to the Kohler family for the financial support.

“The impact that this has and will continue to have on me is nothing short of life-changing. I could go on and on about how much this means to me, but it all boils down to “everything.” Thank you very much for the opportunity you’ve provided me, and I will do my best to remain deserving of it.”

He plans to focus on mechanical engineering for his undergraduate degree, then apply to Carleton University to pursue a master’s degree in aerospace engineering.

“I have always wanted to work at NASA. I am well aware of how great a challenge that may be, but I’ve come to learn time and again that people are far more capable than they might initially think themselves to be.”

Peter Kohler

Peter Kohler is pictured with his arms crossed in a darkened room and an illuminated window prop behind him.
Peter Kohler passed away in 2019.
Photo: Submitted

Mr. Kohler was the founder of Kohler Windows, now Kohltech Windows and Entrance Systems.

The late engineer established the scholarship for Newfoundland and Labrador engineering students because he wanted to give back to the province that supported his business over the years.

It was Mr. Kohler’s wish to make engineering education an option for students who might not, otherwise, be able to afford such a program.

The scholarship was awarded by the Senate Committee on Undergraduate Scholarships, Bursaries and Awards on the recommendation of the dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science.

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