Daniel Franklin remembers what one of his STEM teachers told his class as they approached their high school graduation: “You’re going to save the world one day.”
While the aspiring engineer was unsure how big of an impact he could make on the ever-changing science landscape, Franklin said he was certain of one thing.
“I left high school with this mindset that I didn’t need to do something huge, I just wanted to help people around me through my job if I could,” said Franklin. “I think engineering is a great way to do that.”
Now as he enters his final semester of college, Franklin not only has the support of his teachers and peers, but also a scholarship from North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives.
Finding purpose in the work
Fast forward three and a half years from his high school graduation, and Franklin has found his calling through environmental engineering at East Carolina University.
The senior has worked with the Center for Sustainable Energy and Environmental Engineering (CSE3) on several projects that are serving rural communities in North Carolina. Two of his favorites include designing an automatic sampler system to collect water samples for quality testing and conducting energy assessments for businesses to help cut costs and conserve energy.
“Collaborating with my professors and peers on these projects opened my eyes to the numerous opportunities there are to serve communities with my degree,” said Franklin. “This kind of work makes me excited to go out every day and do something special with what I’ve learned.”
Support from North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives
Franklin’s work is what made him the ideal recipient for the North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives Electrical Engineering Endowed Scholarship this year.
The scholarship is awarded each year to an engineering student at ECU that exemplifies one of the cooperatives founding principles, service to community.
“We are thankful for scholarships like the one from North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives that recognize the accomplishments of hard-working, successful students like Daniel,” said Dr. Chris Venters, associate professor and undergraduate program director for the Department of Engineering at ECU. “Electric co-ops in North Carolina serve many of our students, and it is great to see that co-op support for their members and communities extends beyond service territories and into the college classroom. This annual scholarship makes a difference.”
As Franklin looks back on where his engineering career started less than four years ago, he said it’s been a fulfilling journey and he’s honored to be selected for a scholarship by an organization that aligns with his values.
“One of the main things that drew me to this scholarship was all the work that I see co-ops doing in the community,” said Franklin. “Being selected for this scholarship only strengthens the promise I made to myself that I would use my degree to serve the community I live in.”