John Owens (pictured with his mom Fatima Andrade) just wants to make people’s lives easier. And if he can save the planet in the process, well that’s a good thing, too. A 2017 recipient of an award from the Albert F. Carr Scholarship Fund, John is pursuing a degree in electrical engineering at the University of Connecticut with deep interests in renewable energy and aeronautics.
A member of the National Society of Black Engineers, Engineering Ambassadors Presentation Team, and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, John has always had a love of finding out how the products and machines in our lives work to support our needs, and his mom Fatima—herself an engineer—fed that desire in him from an early age, leading John to become a Carr Scholar.
Albert F. Carr was a New Bedford native and 1943 graduate of New Bedford High School who moved to Baltimore after graduating from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1948. Although he lived in Baltimore for 57 years until his death in 2005 at age 79, Mr. Carr still spoke of Massachusetts as home and recalled his high school alma mater with great affection. Mr. Carr left a legacy that relays his fondness for his hometown and high school: a scholarship fund for New Bedford High School graduating seniors who wish to attend MIT or who will pursue an engineering degree at a four-year college or university.
Just as John credits his mom for his interest in engineering, he credits the staff at New Bedford High School’s Gear-Up program for encouraging him to apply for a Carr Scholarship which has been pivotal for him to be able to chase his dreams. “It’s very simple,” John explained, “without a scholarship from the Community Foundation and it’s Albert F. Carr Scholarship Fund, I would not be able to attend UConn. With this scholarship, I get to be in an incredible engineering program and I can focus on school, not on how the tuition bill is going to get paid.”