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Engineering student rewarded with ODU’s modeling and simulation transfer scholarship.

Ben PetersBenjamin Peters remembers the day his life changed.

He was a sophomore at Windsor High School attending an assembly about modeling and simulation.

“Right off the bat, I was hooked and had to gut my junior year schedule,” Peters said. “It was a two-year program that got me into the MODSIM tract. I started doing dual enrollment with Tidewater Community College, so it was logical to go from high school to TCC.”

Now Peters is bound for Old Dominion University as the recipient of the 2013-14 MODSIM World Virginia Community College System Transfer Scholarship. Peters, who will graduate from TCC on May 8 with an Associate of Science in Engineering, will receive $1,250.

Peters is an avid gamer whose interest in the field heightened during that high school assembly when he watched an actual simulation that allowed surgeons and nurses to practice surgery without operating on a live patient.

“I knew I wanted to do something in computers; I just didn’t know what,” Peters said. “When I found this field, I thought, ‘I think I’ve found it.’ It’s paid off so far.”

The small class sizes and individual attention he received at TCC impressed Peters. He particularly enjoyed Roger Frampton’s chemistry class on the Portsmouth Campus, noting, “You had to know what you were talking about to get the grade in his class.”

Peters was thrilled to receive the scholarship, noting, “My jaw dropped just reading the letter.” TCC professors Gary Weaver and Paul Gordy provided recommendations.

Gordy taught Peters in his EGR 110 class. “As part of a required design project, Ben led his group in designing a trebuchet (catapult) to fire racquetballs and in creating a computer model of their design using Autodesk Inventor,” Gordy said. “Ben was an outstanding leader and motivated his team to work outside of class and to put a lot of thought and detail into their design. They built their trebuchet well ahead of time, tested it outside of class and adjusted the design to maximize the distance it would fire. At the end of the semester, five teams lined up their trebuchets and hurled racquetballs across a field on campus. It was no surprise that Ben Peters’ team won!” 

Gov. Bob McDonnell presented Peters with the scholarship on Wednesday at the ModSim World Conference and Expo at the Hampton Roads Convention Center.

Peters will work toward his bachelor’s at ODU and envisions a future where he can combine modeling and simulation with his passion for gaming and perhaps one day, build his own game.

“TCC is a superb way to save money and still get a quality education,” Peters said. “It’s a good way to start your higher-education career before you dive straight in to a four-year university.”

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