Engineering student overcomes hurdles and thrives at LFCC
With the support of his family, his LFCC colleagues and the $3,500 Philip May Memorial Endowed Scholarship for Engineering, student Trevor Waite has been able to overcome serious setbacks and thrive.
Waite’s father, David, died of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), commonly referred to as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, in October 2016, just a few months after Trevor graduated from Kettle Run High School.
More challenges presented themselves when a windstorm tore the roof off the Waite family home last March, and then another storm in May caused severe water damage. So, Trevor was very relieved to learn he’d been awarded the May Endowed Scholarship.
“The scholarship has lifted many of my worries, not only about attending college, but also repairing my house,” he says. “With the scholarship helping to pay for my tuition and books, my family has been able to put more money towards repairing the storm damage.”
A former member of the Virginia House of Delegates, Joe May has admitted “not distinguishing himself academically” as a high school student.
However, following three years in the U.S. Army, he was admitted into Virginia Tech, a turning point for him. With a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering, May and his wife, Bobby, founded Electronic Instrumentation and Technology in 1977. Now a $48-million-a-year company, it has more than 250 employees and does business in dozens of countries.
May was once described as “having more patents than any member of the General Assembly since Thomas Jefferson.”
Like May, Trevor is studying electrical engineering and plans to transfer to Virginia Tech following his graduation in 2020. His father was an inspiration to him.
“He had several degrees from the Rochester Institute of Technology, and always pushed me to go to college,” Trevor says. “He is the main reason for my interest in engineering and my fascination with how the world works.”
A member of the Phi Theta Kappa national honor society, Waite also serves as a Student Ambassador.
“I really like the Student Ambassadors program,” he says. “It’s great helping to organize events and seeing how things are run, and just interacting with the community.”
And, while it’s not always easy to stay focused on studies, Trevor says he has been helped in that endeavor by the “amazing support” he has received from those around him.
“My family has pushed me to ensure my studies go well, and to help with the home repairs afterwards,” he says. “My fellow Student Ambassadors and our advisor, Chris Lambert, have supported me from the moment they heard about what happened and have been vital in giving me a place to de-stress with friends, while at the same time allowing me to support the college and other students in our roles as Student Ambassadors.”
LFCC came highly recommended by his mother, Joanne, who has taken classes at the college, and now Waite says he would encourage others to enroll.
Waite has found Lord Fairfax more personal than expected. He says the college has increased his sense of community – when Waite is out at stores, he recognizes some of the workers as students from LFCC and relates with them.
“The professors are great,” Waite says. “They’re very helpful. They will interact with you and help you through the classes. My favorite class is math with Professor Jeremiah Dyke. He’s wonderful and has definitely made college even better!”