Glenville resident Nick DeGeorgia is furthering his education, and he’s getting an assist doing it.
The SUNY Empire State student and adjunct professor at Hudson Valley Community College is the first recipient of The Schenectady Foundation’s David J. Goyette Vocational Scholarship.
The $2,500 award aims to assist students in getting a degree in the skilled building trades and vocational education fields.
“I was very surprised when I got the phone call,” the 2004 Niskayuna High School graduate said. “I am truly honored to be the first recipient.”
DeGeorgia, an online student with SUNY Empire State, began working toward a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and technology last spring. However, it’s not his first collegiate learning experience: The 34-year-old married father of two and an Atlas Copco employee also graduated from HVCC’s auto body program in 2008 and its advanced manufacturing technology program in 2019.
“In the modern day, education and knowledge is power,” said DeGeorgia, whose expertise is in the machinist field. “The more you know and have the degree to back it up, the more you can further yourself.”
DeGeorgia is following a path similar to the one Goyette had taken. Goyette, who died in December 2019 after a year-long battle with lymphoma, returned to college in his 40s and at the age of 49 graduated from SUNY Oswego with a bachelor’s degree in vocational education. Goyette’s work as a heating and air conditioning service technician included training others, and he started his career in education by teaching a semester at HVCC.
“I feel like Dave’s life calling, to help others, shines on through the awarding of this scholarship to Nicholas,” said Goyette’s wife, Gloria Kavanah, in a press release announcing the honor bestowed on DeGeorgia. “Nicholas embodies the characteristics Dave lived by and for which the scholarship is awarded: kindness, integrity and a strong work ethic.”
DeGeorgia began working as an adjunct professor at HVCC in the fall of 2019, teaching classes in the machinery field.
“It’s very rewarding when you have that moment when a student gets it,” DeGeorgia said. “It is also rewarding to see the growth of students from the start of the year to the end of it.”
The Goyette Vocational Scholarship will be awarded annually to Schenectady County residents. Candidates are judged on their commitment to their vocation, character references and an essay outlining their work ethic and integrity.
Since 1974, The Schenectady Foundation has awarded more than $600,000 in scholarships to students from Schenectady County. The Schenectady Foundation is a charitable trust established in 1963 to assist and promote the welfare of Schenectady County.