PG&E awards academic achievement

Congratulations to mechanical engineering student, Steven Wood, who was recently awarded the PG&E “Better Together STEM Scholarship.” Wood plans to graduate in May 2019 and will receive $5,000-a-year for the remaining time at Lyles College of Engineering.

“I was very surprised,” he said. “The PG&E scholarship will keep me from needing student loans this year.”

Wood, who turns 20 on Friday, June 9 was one of 20 students from schools across Northern and Central California chosen by PG&E on Friday. He will be invited to a PG&E Scholar Summit on July 27 and 28 to introduce him to PG&E and learn how to apply for a 2018 summer internship.

Steven and Bryan Wood with their grandfather

His primary focus is on robotics, automation, and remotely operated vehicles … “all of which are valuable for the energy industry. Robotics can allow for testing, creation, and maintenance of these various energy sources that are otherwise impossible or impractical for human beings. I want to part of designing, building, and using those systems across the great state of California.”

Inspired after seeing his older brother and Lyles College civil engineering alumnus, Bryan Wood, receive the PG&E Bright Minds Scholarship in 2015, Wood decided to apply and see if he too, could qualify for the award.

“He [Bryan] is a big reason why I am where I am today,” Wood said. “As he explored what he wanted to be when he grew up, he visited Brooks Ransom and Associates, a local structural engineering firm. While there, all types of engineering was explained to him. He came home and said he was going to be a structural engineer and I should be a mechanical engineer. He was right on.”

Wood Family at Lake Tahoe

His brother, along with his parents, have also helped Wood address his learning disabilities,

“It is part of who I am. I am able to think outside the box, find unique solutions for problems, and thrive on using both my mind and my hands,” Wood said.

To reach his goal of becoming a mechanical engineer, Wood began taking college classes at an early age and was a full-time college student by the age of 16.

“Because of my learning disabilities, I am taking longer to complete a degree,” he said. “I hope that after working with me, people will see that there can be more to a person than what their disability implies.”

Wood developed a timed-release moth box for the USDA in Sanger, CA.

Wood has defied the odds of his disabilities and continues to thrive in the Lyles College. During Spring 2017, he served as Supplemental Instruction Leader for the Thermodynamics course and in this capacity helped other students learn this challenging subject.

“Because I know what it is like to struggle because of my own learning disability, I have been a teaching assistant and tutored college students in STEM courses,” he explained.

Wood is also active in his church and helps with Vacation Bible School, janitorial tasks, and community outreach and also sings with the youth choir.

“I have volunteered with the Fresno Community Food Bank, the American Society of Civil Engineers Fresno State Student Chapter, and the Reedley College Aeronautics Department.  I enjoy volunteering as it allows me to help others while making new friends, learning new skills, and increasing my own life experiences.”