As Rachel Steele prepares to earn her doctorate in 2022, she looks back on how much an IAM scholarship meant to her back in 2003. Her father, Thomas Steele, was working for Boeing that year and she was featured in the IAM Journal as one of several scholarship winners.  The younger Steele feels the timing of her PhD candidacy, her dad’s retirement and the current call for scholarship applicants is special.

She says her father ”worked tirelessly when we were growing up. He had to travel a lot, so he wasn’t always home and now as an adult, I realize how much of a sacrifice that was.”

Rachel originally wrote to IAM District 837 President and Directing Business Representative Tom Boelling, looking for a way to thank her dad in a follow-up to the 2003 edition of the IAM Journal.

“We’re so proud of Rachel and what she’s accomplished,” Boelling said. “We congratulate her on reaching the highest academic level of her educational career and congratulate her father, Thomas, on his retirement from Boeing.”

“Thank you for having the foresight for creating a scholarship,” Rachel said. 

Her advice for applicants? “Have confidence, especially if you’re a first-generation student. You deserve the recognition. It’s an amazing privilege. Be true to yourself. Tell your story in your own voice. Everyone has a story.”

“Congratulations to both Rachel on her upcoming doctorate and Thomas on his much-deserved retirement,” said IAM Midwest Territory General Vice President Steve Galloway. “The IAM has always placed a high value on education, from funding scholarships for IAM members and their families to advocating for a national investment in skills training. Rachel’s story shows how important the IAM Scholarship is to so many IAM families. Any eligible members or their children may apply for this life-changing scholarship to college or technical school.”

To apply for the 2022 IAM Scholarship Competition, your packet must be completed and postmarked by February 11, 2022.


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