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STIHL scholar plans career in biomedical engineering

Hayley Crews’ dream of a career in biomedical engineering is a step closer thanks to the STIHL Scholarship for Student Advancement that will pay a full year’s tuition at Tidewater Community College.

“I want to help people in the medical field by making limbs for those who have none,” said Crews, an engineering student on TCC’s Virginia Beach Campus. The 2014 Kellam High School graduate holds a 3.7 GPA at TCC.

STIHL, Inc., which manufactures handheld outdoor power equipment, headquarters its U.S. operations in Virginia Beach.

Crews said receiving the $5,000 scholarship split over two semesters was a huge relief.

“I was worried I wouldn’t have money to buy books for this semester,” she said. “I took a chance and applied.”

Crews started at TCC as a psychology major and switched to electronics technology before she realized that engineering was the ideal path for her. Though she’s not a natural math whiz, she has thrived, in part because of the help she received at TCC’s tutoring center on the Virginia Beach Campus.

“Engineering is definitely the area I want to be in,” said Crews, who would like to transfer to either the University of Virginia or Virginia Commonwealth University to earn both a bachelor’s and master’s. “I want to work for a company that is big on developing innovative products for the medical field.”

Crews recently joined TCC’s Engineering Club and is a member of Phi Theta Kappa, the honor society for community colleges.

To apply for the STIHL scholarship, students must complete an application, which includes a short essay outlining their interest in advanced manufacturing and related courses of study, and reflect career goals.

Every year TCC and its Educational Foundation give away thousands of dollars in scholarships. Applications for the spring 2016 awards cycle are being accepted through Nov. 1. Send questions to See all available scholarships here.