Voith awards $25,000 in scholarships to students in Women in Engineering

The hydroelectric company aims to support students entering engineering professions

From left to right: John Seifarth, senior vice president and chief operating officer, Voith Hydro Inc., North America; Kayli Rentzel, Julia Sternberg and Rachel Sternberg; Stanley Kocon, CEO, Voith Hydro Inc., North America; and Justin Schwartz, Harold and Inge Marcus Dean of Engineering at Penn State. Credit: Penn StateCreative Commons

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Voith Hydro Inc. has awarded the first $25,000 in scholarships to students enrolled in Penn State College of Engineering’s Women in Engineering Program (WEP).

The first group of Voith scholarship recipients, Rebecca Fuhrman, Lauren Katch, Kayli Rentzel, Julia Sternberg and Rachel Sternberg, have all demonstrated extraordinary academic success and were presented with a certificate from Stanley Kocon, CEO, Voith Hydro Inc., North America, on Oct. 23 at the University Park campus, following a keynote lecture Kocon gave at an ExecutiveXcellence Speaker Series.

“The students selected this year truly represent the high caliber of engineering students that we have at Penn State,” said Karen Thole, distinguished professor and mechanical engineering department head. “This scholarship is an incredible opportunity to support them in their studies and we’re extremely thankful for Voith championing this effort.”

Voith Hydro Inc., which traces its American hydropower manufacturing roots back 140 years, set up the annual scholarship as a way to give back to the community that supports it. Eligible Penn State applicants had to reside near the company’s York County facilities in one of the following Pennsylvania counties: Adams, Cumberland, Dauphin, Lancaster, Lebanon, Perry or York. “Based on their academic credentials, these engineering students represent some of the brightest from our part of Pennsylvania,” Kocon said. “We’re honored to assist them in their studies and eager to help diversify the engineering workforce of the future.”

Two of the students, Julia and Rachel, are twin sisters from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. As seniors studying mechanical engineering, both have been determined to support women in their field by mentoring students through WEP.

“I usually mentor about 12 students a year,” Julia said. “I’m glad to do this because we can bring a different perspective to the table. We think differently and we have different perspectives on engineering, so we can definitely help solve problems.”

In addition to supporting WEP members, the scholarships aims to support exceptional future engineers to pursue careers in the hydroelectric industry. To further this goal, the students who receive the scholarship will be eligible to apply for internships at Voith, adding to their knowledge of the field.

“The support and generosity of Voith in funding this scholarship is really great,” Julia said. “It can help inspire more women join the engineering track and stay there.”

Rachel agreed and said, “Their support of my goals is really appreciated. I’m so excited to help change the ratio, helping more women work in engineering professionally.”

This gift will advance "A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence," a focused campaign that seeks to elevate Penn State’s position as a leading public university in a world defined by rapid change and global connections. With the support of alumni and friends, “A Greater Penn State” seeks to fulfill the three key imperatives of a 21st-century public university: keeping the doors to higher education open to hardworking students regardless of financial well-being; creating transformative experiences that go beyond the classroom; and impacting the world by fueling discovery, innovation and entrepreneurship. To learn more about “A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence,” visit

About Voith

Global technology group Voith, with its broad portfolio of systems, products, services and digital applications, sets standards in the markets of energy, oil & gas, paper, raw materials and transport & automotive. Founded in 1867, today Voith has more than 19,000 employees, sales of $4.7 billion and locations in over 60 countries worldwide, and is one of the largest family-owned companies in Europe. For more information, visit

Last Updated December 12, 2018