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Meet the Nordson BUILDS Scholars We're Supporting This Year

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Some of our 2018 Nordson BUILDS Scholars visit our facilities in Duluth, Georgia; Carlsbad, California and Austintown, Ohio for lunch-and-learns, including facility tours and networking opportunities with Nordson employees and leaders.


As part of our Nordson Impact in our communities, Nordson offers scholarships to students who live near our facilities in the United States and attend a trade school, community college or university for a major related to manufacturing. This year, Nordson is supporting 152 bright scholars from across the country – an investment of more than $500,000.

"The BUILDS program is a talent pool strategy that we created five years ago to establish a home-grown talent pool for Nordson," explained Amonica Davis, Student Outreach Program Manager at Nordson. "It's Mike Hilton's brainchild, along with our executive team at the time. Cecilia Render and I have worked together Mike and his team to make it happen."

Cecilia Render, Director of the Nordson Corporation Foundation and Community Relations Team, hired Amonica to help design and manage the BUILDS program. The program's name hints at its purpose, which is to build opportunities for students in the communities near us, to build our own workforce and to develop a diverse talent pool for the future of the manufacturing industry.

"More than 40 percent of our Nordson BUILDS recipients this year are females and people of color," Amonica said. "That excites me because they'll be in decision-making positions someday at Nordson or other global companies. And those are students that are from our neighborhoods."

Nordson BUILDS also helps us build brand awareness so we can recruit top talent and develop a pipeline of talent that can meet the higher demands of technology in the manufacturing space today.

Travis Salyers, Engineering Supervisor, is a current Nordson employee who began his career as a Nordson BUILDS scholar. After interning at Nordson, he earned a BUILDS scholarship to support him as he earned his master's degree in mechanical engineering.

"It was a good entry point for me into the manufacturing world," Travis said. "I always thought I wanted to go into design, and then I had the manufacturing-based internship and also earned a BUILDS scholarship. That made me realize that I actually was really interested in the programming and manufacturing side, aside from mechanical design that I thought I was interested in."

Mechanical engineering is the most popular major for this year's group of BUILDS scholars too, followed by computer science and general business majors.

"What's special about Nordson BUILDS is that we're not only providing financial support, but an introduction to a global manufacturing company," Amonica said.

Each year, Nordson hosts lunch-and-learn opportunities for BUILDS scholars, giving them a chance to tour our facilities, network and see how their theoretical learning applies in a real manufacturing space. It also gives Nordson teams a chance to get to know the students, since they are selected for the scholarships by the Ohio Foundation of Independent Colleges, an objective third-party administrator.

"We have a lot of executive support at our lunch-and-learns too, especially this summer," Amonica said. Executives have also shown their support by allowing the BUILDS program to expand to provide scholarships to more students each year.

During the year, Amonica often acts as a "virtual academic counselor" for BUILDS scholars too, helping them understand financial aid, sharing advice and helping them make connections. Once, while a BUILDS scholar was studying abroad in China, Amonica set up a tour for the student at our Shanghai facility. Another time she helped coordinate an opportunity for a BUILDS scholar to interview CEO Mike Hilton and Shelly Peet, Executive Vice President of HR, IS and the Foundation and Community Affairs Team.

Other companies are now starting to model Nordson's example by developing programs similar to Nordson BUILDS.

"It just makes me so proud to be part of a company that invests so much into providing support to such a diverse group of students," Amonica said. "When I share Nordson BUILDS with other companies, they want to know 'how did you do it? How does it work?'"

"For me it's just a very passionate program because we can keep building and expanding on this as much as we want based on what we need as a company and community," Amonica said. "I feel privileged every day to build our leaders' vision out through my work."


Read thank you notes from a few of this year's Nordson BUILDS scholars: 

Kaif Dosani   Kaif Dosani
   Junior at Kennesaw State University
Mechanical Engineering



Dear Mrs. Amonica Davis,

I am sincerely honored and humbled to have been selected as the recipient of the Nordson BUILDS Scholarship. Thank you for your generosity and for giving me this opportunity as it has allowed me to continue my education.

As I further my education at Kennesaw State University. I am very thankful and appreciative to have the support of my Nordson family. I cannot express enough how grateful I am to have received this scholarship and how empowering it is to peruse my dreams of becoming a Mechanical Engineer. To have an entire company by your side that truly believes in your dreams and helps you support those dreams is a feeling that is indescribable.

Reflecting on my journey and I how I got here, I came to realize that I would not be where I am today without Nordson. I first heard about Nordson in high school as my high school had a special internship relationship with multiple different companies including Nordson. At my high school, the Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology, Juniors and Seniors were required to have Internships as a graduation requirement. At the end of my junior year, I had seen several presentations of my classmate’s internship experiences but there was one that really stuck with me and that was about Nordson. This presentation about the intern’s experience at Nordson really appealed to me and made me want to gain experience at Nordson as well. Going into my senior year, I made it a top priority to intern at Nordson as I knew that this was where I wanted to spend the rest of my senior year learning.

After experiencing a full year of being an intern, I presented my end of year presentation to my mentor and staff at the Duluth facility. They were so encouraging and gave me great feedback. After this presentation, I was told about the Nordson BUILDS Scholarship and was recommended to apply for it. Not only did I grow my knowledge and learn from the best mentors at Nordson, but a year later in the summer of my freshmen year I had received my first scholarship from Nordson and became a Nordson BUILDS scholar. Due to the support of the Nordson BUILDS scholarship and my prior positive internship experience at Nordson, I wanted to come back to Nordson and be an intern again. During my second internship experience at Nordson, I had been given three major projects that I learned a tremendous amount from that made me feel proud to be a Nordson intern once again. That brings me to where I am today, a truly grateful 3rd time recipient of the Nordson BUILDS Scholarship. My experiences as an intern at Nordson, along with being a recipient of the Nordson BUILDS Scholarship has changed my life for the better.

My educational journey from high school to college has been shaped by Nordson. I would not be who or where I am today if it wasn’t for Nordson. My family at Nordson is always going to be in my heart and I am forever thankful for the opportunities given to me by Nordson. While the opportunities may seem small to a company so large, to a small person like me, it means the world.

Thank you again for everything, I am truly so grateful.

Kaif Dosani


James Melkonian

   James Melkonian
   Sophomore at UC Davis
   Mechanical Engineering



Dear Nordson BUILDS Scholarship Program,

Thank you for considering me for the Nordson BUILDS Scholarship Program. I was excited to receive an award this year. The generosity from scholarships like this one allows me to continue to pursue a college degree, strive towards a career in mechanical engineering, and explore its applications in the manufacturing industry.

I am thrilled about the opportunities this scholarship provides me. It enables me to not have to incur student debt and gives me piece of mind as I head into a new school year knowing I can focus on my classes without excessive worry about finances.

This coming year I will be taking a machine shop class as well as courses on circuitry, materials, and statics. By spring I will have all my lower division engineering requirements completed and I hope to get involved with a build team on campus. This summer I am working teaching robotics classes to children at Legoland California in Carlsbad and look forward to applying for the Nordson internship next year.

I am also thankful for the robotics mentor from Nordson Asymtek, Alan Lewis, who has guided and encouraged me in my academic pursuits.

Thank you again for your generosity in support of my education.

James Melkonian



Robyn Ryce

    Robin Ryce
Junior at Michigan State University
Electrical Engineering



Dear Ms. Amonica Davis, 

I would like to take the time to express my gratitude for the Nordson BUILDS Scholarship. I am extremely honored and appreciative to be a recipient of the scholarship, because it will provide a generous amount of assistance for my second year at the College of Engineering at the University of Michigan.

Currently, I am pursuing a degree in electrical engineering, and hope to be able to explore the different avenues of my major to help me decide how I want to utilize my degree in the future. As of now, I am involved in the Intel Semiconductor Research fellowship at the University of Michigan, where I am helping develop software that enables a four-wheel robot to navigate and map its surroundings autonomously using a 3D laser. Having begun the research without any background knowledge, the experience has challenged my problem solving skills and programming skills. Furthermore, I am continuing my involvement in the National Society of Black Engineers as a Junior Executive Board member, where it's my mission to promote freshman retention and diversity in engineering through organizing events and mentoring incoming freshman. I hope to continue to cultivate my leadership and engineering skills at the University of Michigan, while making a difference within my community and society.

With your assistance, I am one step closer to achieving my goals as an aspiring engineer. Thank you for investing in me, my education, and my future, and for preparing me for college with the supplies I need.

Robin Ryce



Amy Blake

   Amy Blake
Junior at Colorado State University
   Business Administration



Dear Ms. Davis,

I am so honored to be a recipient of the Nordson BUILDS Scholarship for the 2018-2019 academic school year. I am thankful and humbled to be awarded such a scholarship and it has motivated me to work even harder towards my academic success in the upcoming school year.

As a Nordson BUILDS Scholar, I have never been more eager to achieve academic success and turn my dreams of being a business leader into a reality. This award will greatly aid me in earning my degree as a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration concentrating in Organization and Innovation Management and Human Resources as well as two certificates in Entrepreneurship and Leadership. 

None of this would be possible without your generosity. You truly have impacted my future success and for that I could not be more grateful. By awarding me the Nordson BUILDS Scholarship, I am one step closer to achieving my goals. This scholarship has helped me to draw my attention away from financial burden and onto the more important aspect of college, learning. Your generosity has inspired me to succeed so that one day I too can give back to the community and help students reach their goals as you have helped me to reach mine. I look forward to having the opportunity to meet you and thank you in person in the near future.

Amy Blake