Samantha Vulin, a senior at Plainview-Old Bethpage John F. Kennedy High School, was recently named as one of six local students to receive a share of a $36,000 college scholarship from the Steamfitters Industry Scholarship Program.
The Steamfitters scholarship program awards students who have demonstrated academic excellence and support for important programs in their communities—more than $1.5 million in scholarships have been given out to 285 students since the program began in 1967.
“It was quite the honor to be selected as one of the scholarship recipients for 2016. I was even more proud that it came from the union that my father has proudly been a part of for 12 years,” said Vulin. “Each year, my father’s union awards scholarships to high school seniors to help pay for college tuition and he encouraged me to apply. When the letter came informing me that I was chosen, it was definitely a very proud day for me and my family.”
The scholarship recipients were recognized for their achievements at the 49th annual Steamfitters Scholarship Reception held at the New York City Fire Museum. Each student was presented with a $6,000 scholarship, an engraved silver bowl, an iPad mini and a sweatshirt representing the college they plan to attend.
Vulin plans on attending Hofstra University this fall and will continue her education in accounting. The senior graduates from Plainview this year with a grade average of 96 and her heavy course load includes advanced placement in macroeconomics and Spanish, as well as college-level courses in calculus and accounting.
“After weighing the options of going away or staying at home, it became clear that if I were to pursue a degree in accounting, Hofstra made the most sense,” she said. “Hofstra invited me to join their Zarb Dean’s Business Scholars Program and combined with their generous scholarship offer, it was hard to turn down this great opportunity presented to me.”
Greatly involved in her school’s extracurricular activities, Vulin is a member of her school’s marketing organization, DECA, where she has taken on various leadership roles and helped lead them to placing second in New York state and ranking in the top 10 nationwide. The active student also runs track, volunteers as a tutor and serves as a teaching assistant for religious education at her church.
Vulin believes that her involvement in DECA in particular has helped lay the groundwork for a successful career in business.
“As a DECA member for the past three years, I worked with fellow students creating a marketing project to present to judges on a local, state and national level,” she said. “DECA allows students to travel to Rochester and compete at a regional level and then move on to nationals. Being part of DECA was an incredibly useful experience which taught me how to work in a small team and it allows you to get a taste of the business world.”
Though her eyes are trained on her future in academics and beyond, Vulin thinks about her days at POBJFK with a mix of emotions. She is excited for her college years, but will miss those moments spent with high school friends.
“The four years went by really fast and high school is definitely a time for personal and educational growth,” she said. “You enter as a nervous teenager, apprehensive of freshmen year and leave as a young adult possessing more confidence, hopefully prepared to handle to challenges of college. I’ve met plenty of teachers at JFK who taught me well and encouraged me to pursue a degree that will help land a job after graduation.”
As for the students set to start their senior year at POBJFK this fall, Vulin advises them to keep all of their options open.
“Choosing a college can be a frustrating experience especially if you are undecided, but it all will work out in the end,” she said. “Hard work does pay off, so I’d like to tell next year’s seniors to maintain their grades and definitely pursue a college that is a good fit.”
Steamfitters awarded five other students from Hicksville, Port Jefferson Station, West Islip, Patchogue and Freehold, NJ.
“We applaud these young scholars for their academic achievements and I am so pleased that these awards will help them further their education and prepare for their career,” said Patrick Dolan, president of Steamfitters Local 638.
The Steamfitting Industry Scholarship Competition is open each year to high school students who have a parent who is employed by an Mechanical Contractors Association (MCA) firm or a member of Steamfitters Local 638. Six merit-based scholarships are awarded based on academic standing, with considerations given to extracurricular activities and volunteer work.
Vulin’s scholarship money from the Steamfitting Industry goes directly to Hofstra and will be deducted from her tuition bill. The lower tuition, she said, is a big help to cover the other costs incurred with college.
“Since my tuition bill will be lower, maybe a new laptop is in store from my parents,” she said.