Experience PCC Academics Continuing Education Distance Learning Faculty & Staff Contact
Apply Now Click Here

CIT Students Receive Grainger Scholarships

Melvin Reddick and Christopher Traud Recognized for Classroom Success

PCC students Melvin Reddick, left, and Christopher Traud were notified this month they had been selected to receive Grainger Tools for Tomorrow Scholarships.

WINTERVILLE—A pair of students from Pitt Community College’s Construction and Industrial Technology Division have been named recipients of the Grainger Tools for Tomorrow Scholarship.

Earlier this month, Melvin Reddick and Christopher Traud were notified of their awards, which Grainger presents to select students enrolled in skilled trades and public safety programs across the nation. Reddick and Traud will receive a total of $2,000 through their awards to pay for tuition – $1,000 this fall and again in the spring – and both will receive a set of professional tools from Grainger after graduating from PCC.

Reddick, who said he decided to go back to school at age 46, is a Dean’s List student from Zebulon with a 3.89 GPA. He was one of 50 students to receive an Academic Excellence Award at PCC this year, and when he completes his studies at Pitt, he will have earned associate degrees from the college’s Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration, Electrical Systems and Industrial Systems programs.

Reddick said making the decision to return to college was “the easy part” for him while the hard part was determining what to study. He said he ultimately discovered Industrial Systems to be his true calling while taking “Mechanisms 130” as an Electrical Systems student.

“When I took that mechanisms class, I worked on cams, cables, gear trains, differentials, screws, belts, pulleys, shafts, levers, lubricants and other devices,” he said. “I enjoyed that class so much that I decided to sign up for the Industrial Systems Technology (program) and get my AAS degree in that.”

Reddick, who volunteers with Greenville’s Compassionate Faith Outreach Ministries, Inc., is a member of PCC’s Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society chapter and the National Society of Leadership and Success. In addition to the Grainger Scholarship, he has received the Wells Fargo and Nextel Legal scholarships along with the Home Builders Association and Luther Jones awards.

“I have always been good with my hands and have finally found a field that I can put all of the skills that I have learned to use,” Reddick said. “I will finish school with three AAS degrees and hopefully walk right into my dream job.”

For Traud, a Robersonville resident with a 3.72 GPA, PCC’s Welding Technology program seems to be an ideal fit. “I didn’t choose welding so much as it chose me,” he is apt to say.

After deployments to Afghanistan and Iraq as a parachute infantryman with the U.S. Army in the Global War on Terrorism, Traud said his military service ended abruptly, when he was diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. At nearly 40 years of age, he said he found himself at a crossroads with no job, no particular job skills, and a family to support.

“I had to take a serious look at myself and put the pieces together,” he said. “I elected to use my military benefits to go back to school, hoping to better myself and give my family a greater future.”

The son of a trade school teacher, Traud said he was “fascinated by how things worked and the mechanics of the world” around him as a child. As a result, he spent much of his time as a youngster getting covered in grease and dirt while hanging out with his father in the diesel, automotive and welding labs at school.

When he enrolled at PCC, Traud said he decided to pursue a trade that would allow him to use his hands while combining the skills he learned from his father with the discipline he developed in the military. He chose welding and now plans to start his own business upon earning his associate degree.

“I think welding was a natural choice; it fit me, and it allowed me an outlet and a shelter from many of my past experiences,” Traud said. “I can lose myself in the solitude under that welding hood and focus my whole self into the work.”

In addition to receiving an Academic Excellence Award in the spring, Traud is a Dean’s List student and member of the PCC Student Veterans Association and the American Welding Society.

Applicants for the Grainger Tools for Tomorrow Scholarship must be enrolled full-time with a GPA of 3.0 or higher, submit a letter of recommendation from an instructor or advisor, and write an essay that includes a description of how they chose their field of study and future career goals. Half of the scholarships are designated for students like Traud, who have been honorably separated from the U.S. Armed Forces.