Benefactor and recipients pose together at the award ceremony for the first annual women in engineering scholarship fund. From left are: Paul Blount, Sarah McKinley, Emma Fournier, Grace Remillard and Katy Blount. COURTESY PHOTO
PUBLISHED: | UPDATED:

GROTON – Frustrated
at the lack of female engineer
applicants at his
Chelmsford company, Custom
MMIC, CEO Paul
Blount decided to help a few
get started down that road.

Three local girls were
recently awarded scholarships
for their academic
work and scientific aspirations,
thanks in part to
Blount and his partnership
with Greater Lowell Community
Foundation.

The girls are recent
graduates of local high
schools, now beginning
their education in various
disciplines within the
diverse industry of engineering.
Sarah McKinley
is a 2018 graduate of Westford
Academy and current
freshman at Clarkson University
in Potsdam, New
York. She joins other recipients
— Emma Fournier
and Grace Remillard, both
of Groton — as winners of
the first Women in Engineering
scholarship fund.

Blount limited this first
year’s competition to Groton
and Westford residents but
hopes to include Chelmsford
in next year’s search. “Our
company started in Groton
before moving to Westford,”
he explained. “Now we are
in Chelmsford and we
designed the program to follow
our journey.”

Emma Fournier won the
grand prize among the 11
applicants, a full scholarship.

“I really liked math and
science as a kid,” said
Fournier, now a freshman
at Tulane University
studying chemical engineering.
“I had an aptitude
for it and my teachers (at
Groton- Dunstable
Regional High School)
really encouraged me
toward that direction.”

She won the scholarship,
worth as much as $80,000,
based on her academics,
involvement in school activities
including sports and
an essay that she wrote.

McKinley working
toward a degree in
mechanical engineering. “I
started to get into building
model rockets as a kid,
then I got really interested
in robotics. I also like set
design, which isn’t exactly
engineering. But it is
about figuring ways to
solve problems,” she said.
“I think it’s great that he
(Blount) is encouraging us
to get involved in engineering
but he is also helping
to support our journey.”

“All of the applicants
were impressive,” Blount
said. “And their credentials
were essentially equal so
the essay became a significant
part of the selection
process. We were only planning
on the one award but
the others were also deserving.”
Two others were
awarded $10,000 each.

Fournier’s classmate at
GDRHS, Remillard, began
her studies last month as
an electrical engineering
major at University of
Massachusetts Lowell.

Next year, Blount hopes
to award three more scholarships
to local women
who have: already declared
a college major that is
related to engineering;
been accepted into an
accredited university; live
in one of the three towns;
have stellar academic
records; and complete an
essay that reflects not only
why they are interested in
engineering but also how
their skills will help society.