Personal Investment Pays Off

Corin Brown did a lot of knitting during the weeks leading up to his graduation from UNC Charlotte.

For Brown, who received a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering at Fall Commencement on Dec. 15, the hobby he picked up in high school was a stress reliever as he studied for final exams and awaited responses about the engineering  jobs for which he’d applied.

One topic he was not stressing was how to pay for his UNC Charlotte education. Brown graduated as the University’s first Albert Engineering Leadership Scholar.

The Albert Engineering Leadership Scholars Program, established in 2014, provides renewable, merit-based scholarships to students in the William States Lee College of Engineering.

Craig Albert ’85 and Darla Albert ’83 established the scholarship to help develop future engineering leaders. The couple recently made another generous donation to support more engineering scholars.

The scholarship covers tuition, fees, housing and meals, books, summer experiences and professional development.Corin Brown

“Obviously, not having to worry about thousands of dollars in student loans is pretty nice,” said Brown, who is from Boone.

But the experience as an Albert Scholar meant much more to Brown than money. It gave him the chance to study abroad at Hongik University in Seoul, South Korea, an opportunity that he said is not always available to engineering students.

There, he immersed himself in the Korean language and discovered that engineering is a universal language. Brown (right) said his professor at Hongik University lectured in Korean, but spoke English when using engineering terms.

Scholars are automatically accepted into the William States Lee College of Engineering Leadership Academy, where they participate in leadership retreats with engineering faculty and others.

Craig Albert, who earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the Lee College of Engineering, credits his UNC Charlotte education with helping him become a leader. His career includes working for the manufacturing company Westinghouse as a project manager and later as manager of business development for the company’s government business.

Since 1998, Albert has worked for the engineering company Bechtel. Currently president of Bechtel Infrastructure in London, he is responsible for power, communication, aviation, rail and civil infrastructure projects. Darla Albert is a graduate of the Belk College of Business.

Brown, who has met and spoken with Craig Albert on multiple occasions, said what stands out most about the Albert Scholars Program is Albert’s personal investment. He hasn’t given just his money to the program; he’s shared his time.

“That level of personal investment is really awesome, and I don’t know if that’s really present in a lot of other scholarships,” Brown said.

Brown completed almost 10 knitting projects he had been working on the past couple of months and says most of those scarves, hats and gloves will be given as Christmas gifts.

Meanwhile, he's still waiting to hear about the civil engineering jobs. Brown wants to work in sustainable development and is hopeful about his prospects because of Charlotte's "great" construction and civil engineering job markets.