Foundation Scholarship Winners Say Thank You to GAWDA

Jennifer Blake

Jennifer Blake is studying Business Administration-Marketing at the University of North Georgia and will graduate in 2015. She works part-time in the marketing department of The Harris Products Group in Gainesville, GA.

I am honored and humbled that I have been chosen for the 2013 GAWDA Foundation Scholarship. During my college journey, I have learned many things about myself and life in general. No matter what obstacles you face, you must be willing to overcome them and keep moving forward. This scholarship will allow me continue to pursue my bachelor’s degree and expand my role with The Harris Products Group.”


Nathan Clark

Nathan Clark plans to attend Penn State University in the fall and major in engineering. He has assembled telemetry parts at DataOnline in Scotch Plains, NJ, where his mother, Anna Clark, is a sales manager.

I am very honored and thankful that GAWDA has chosen me as one of the recipients of the 2013 scholarship. I will use this money to its full potential in my college education. One of my main interests in life involves energy and fuel sources and how to make the most efficient type of energy. I intend to pursue this interest by majoring in either chemical or nuclear engineering. It is my hope that I can contribute to improvements being made in the field of nuclear engineering that could improve the way we live.”


Monica Goss

Monica Goss has been a part-time and seasonal employee at her family’s business, RN Goss Gas Products in Oil City, PA, since she was 14 years old. She has worked in the office, loaded and unloaded trucks and painted cylinders. A licensed forklift operator, she also helps in the warehouse. A member of the Society of Women Engineers, Monica has captained several engineering teams and participated on a robotics team. She volunteers as a science mentor and tutor. After graduation in May 2014 from Case Western Reserve University with a degree in biomedical engineering, Monica wants to work in the polymers industry, and then return to the family business as its fourth generation. She’s taking business classes to prepare for management of the family business.

I was very excited when I received notification that I would be a recipient of the GAWDA scholarship. I really appreciate the help toward my tuition expenses. I think it’s great that GAWDA is helping in the development of the leaders for our future. Thank you for this opportunity.”


Adam Lacku

Adam Lacku began working in the warehouse nine years ago at AWISCO in Maspeth, NY. He continues to gain additional responsibilities and today is the company’s purchasing and inventory manager. Studying management at Queensborough Community College, Adam will graduate in May 2014 and plans to pursue a B.S. in operations management.

I would like to thank GAWDA for its support as I pursue my education. While it is often challenging to pursue an education part time while working full time, it has allowed me not only to manage my time more efficiently, but also to apply what I have learned in the classroom in my workplace environment. I chose to become a management major because I was confident it would allow me to further excel in an operations management role at AWISCO. I will complete a marketing concentration, which will nicely align with some of my newly received marketing responsibilities. “


William Tyler Miller

William Tyler Miller works during summer school breaks in his family’s business, Wesco Gas & Welding Supply in Prichard, AL. He has worked in the cylinder fill plant, the service repair center and the AWS Welding Testing Facility. William’s mother, Judy Miller, is the director of marketing at Wesco. While still a senior in high school, William completed 18 hours of college credit, while also doing 250 hours of community service. In the summer of 2011, he did a mission trip to Honduras. During his freshman year of college, he placed third in a robotics competition for incoming engineers. William will graduate from the University of Central Florida in May 2015 with a degree in mechanical engineering.

I am honored to be one of the recipients of the 2013 GAWDA Foundation Scholarship. Thanks to your generous support, this will help with my college expenses at the University of Central Florida and allow me to continue my education in mechanical engineering.”


Erica D Patrick

Erica D. Patrick works in the Accounts Payable department at the Redmond, OR, branch of Norco, Inc. She transferred to the Redmond location to assist in Norco’s growing store in the area. A strong believer in a need for cross-trained employees, she is taking classes in Welding Certification at Central Oregon Community College, which she hopes to complete in Spring 2015. Erica is confident that a welding certificate will grant her the ability to train employees, build a dedicated industrial customer base and potentially help her move into a supervisory role in the company as a well-rounded employee well-versed in an industrial atmosphere.

I extend my sincere gratitude to the GAWDA Foundation Committee for selecting me as a recipient of the 2013 GAWDA Foundation Scholarship. Your generous scholarship award will provide me the means to learn a lifelong trade that will enrich my life personally and professionally, as well as help me assist my company, Norco Inc., toward success in years to come. Thank you again!”


Samuel Peterson

Samuel Peterson has been working part time at Mississippi Welding Supply in Winona, MN, which is owned by his father Bradley Peterson. In September, Samuel will be entering Barrett Honors College at Arizona State University to study mechanical engineering. Transcribing an idea onto paper and then bringing it into reality gives Samuel a sense of satisfaction he has not found anywhere else. Once described as a “knowledge sponge,” it is a title he wears with pride. He plays three musical instruments, occasionally sings in choir, has mastered the basics of welding and has taken metals classes.

Thank you for selecting me for this very generous scholarship. It will be a huge help to me as I begin my studies towards an engineering degree. It is an honor to receive this award.

Thanks again.”


Brittney Pierce

Brittney Pierce works at her family’s business, Wesco Gas & Welding Supply in Prichard, AL, during summer and seasonal breaks from school. One of her responsibilities was to help train parts and service reps. In September, Brittney will be a sophomore at Auburn University where she is pursuing a degree in engineering. She hopes to intern with NASA and obtain a leadership position within the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineering, as well as the Society of Women in Engineering. Her career objectives include doing research on new and more efficient modes of transportation. Ultimately, she wants to start her own business, selling her own products.

My college tuition is increasing every year, and this scholarship significantly decreases my financial burden. This scholarship allows me to focus on my goal of becoming an engineer while also allowing me to worry less about my mounting college debt. Thank you, GAWDA Foundation, for lessening my economic burden and allowing me to achieve my dream of becoming an engineer. “


Christopher Soris

Christopher Soris will graduate from the University of Dayton in May 2014 with a degree in Accounting & Finance. His father, Gary Soris, has worked at Weldstar Company in Dayton, OH, since 1982.

Christopher has always been interested in numbers and wants to obtain the title of CPA before moving on to investment banking. He serves as the treasurer of the college tennis team, has organized fundraisers for “Kids Camp” and volunteered with Habitat for Humanity.

I would like to thank the GAWDA Foundation for their generosity in offering me this great scholarship opportunity.  My dad has worked for the Weldstar Company, a GAWDA member, for over 30 years.  I sincerely appreciate the fact that the gas and welding industry supports our family and has done so for many years.  Thanks again for this financial award.  I will put it to good use as I enter my senior year.”


Erik Stein

Erik Stein has worked at Advanced Specialty Gases in Reno, NV, which is owned by his father, David Stein. His first jobs were helper jobs, and when he found he had an affinity for Quality Control and Gas Certification, he worked alongside lab personnel and learned about Certificates of Analysis and QC. He has worked as a lab technician for the past three summers. Erik is attending the Colorado School of Mines where he hopes to graduate in 2015 with a degree in Chemical Engineering. He plans to continue studying for a master’s degree in chemical engineering and work for one of the major gas producers before returning to the family business. Erik is a third generation GAWDA member and attended his first GAWDA convention in Colorado Springs in 2012.

Thank you so much to the scholarship committee for the award. I am truly thankful and will be using it to continue at the Colorado School of Mines where I plan on pursuing my masters in chemical engineering.”


Ellie Cansada Tanner

Ellene Cansada Tanner will begin her freshman year at the University of North Georgia where she plans to study Business Administration. Ellene’s father, Glenn D. Tanner, is a senior maintenance technician at The Harris Products Group in Braselton, GA. During her senior year in high school, Ellene also took college courses. Her ultimate goal is to have a successful career that challenges her to be a better person and provides opportunities for growth and expansion.

Thank you so much for the award of this scholarship.  I was beyond thrilled when I found out that I had been chosen.”