Ipshita Thomas is one of three students to receive the inaugural U.S. Department of Transportation’s Regional Outstanding Student Fellowship (ROSF) award, authorized by Congress under the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equality Act. This new educational initiative, worth $12,000 annually, was open to regional schools in the Southeast which do not house The Southeastern Transportation Center or the Region 4 University Transportation Center. Thomas, whose hometown is Chattanooga, is a UTC senior studying civil engineering.
Thomas receives $4000 per semester from the renewable award. Candidates’ selections were based upon academic performance, professionalism and leadership and technical merit. Two students from University of North Carolina, Charlotte, were also recipients of the award.
“This scholarship will allow outstanding students like Ipshita to pursue their studies without the distraction that comes from trying to supplement resources through outside work and allow them to continue to excel academically. As a department, we benefit when we can showcase good students and available scholarship opportunities, which will in turn help our enrollment. As a discipline, we all benefit by attracting, retaining and training an excellent cadre of future transportation practitioners in this state and region,” said Dr. Ignatius W. Fomunung, UTC Associate Professor of Civil Engineering.
Thomas plans to graduate in May 2009 at age twenty. She has been working at TVA as an intern since summer 2007. She attended Middle College High School, and was the class valedictorian in 2005 at age sixteen. Concurrently, she received an Associate of Science Degree from Chattanooga State. At UTC, she is the student president of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and she is an active member of the collegiate program of the Society of Women Engineers and Tau Beta Pi, the engineering honor society. She has been awarded the Jimmy Jackson Memorial Scholarship and the Tennessee Road Builders Association award.
“Obtaining the ROSF Award has allowed me to focus my attention on school without the distraction of working extensively to pay for college expenses – a privilege many students are not able to enjoy,” Thomas said. “I am very grateful for this opportunity and extremely honored to represent the UTC College of Engineering in receiving this distinction. It is also very rewarding to be recognized for all my hard work.”