ECE senior Meade chosen as Goldwater and Tillman Scholar
Calendar Icon May 12, 2017 Person Bust Icon By Karl Vogel RSS
Zachary Meade, a senior in electrical and computer engineering on the Scott Campus (Omaha), was selected to be a 2017 Goldwater Scholar and will receive a $7,500 scholarship for the 2017-18 academic year.
Meade was one of two students nominated by the University of Nebraska-Omaha for the scholarship, which is awarded based on academic merit to encourage college students to pursue careers in the fields of engineering, natural sciences and mathematics. Nearly 1,300 students were nominated for the scholarship.
Meade, a veteran of the Army who serves in the Nebraska Air National Guard reserve, also received two other awards:
* In May, Meade was chosen to receive one of two $1,000 Al and Dorothy Schewe Leadership Awards from the UNL College of Engineering.
* In June, Meade was selected as one of 60 college students from around the country as a Tillman Scholar by the Pat Tillman Foundation. The awards are given annually to military veterans and their spouses who "apply the best lessons they’ve learned in life and the military to impact our country for years to come in medicine, business, law, science, education and the arts."
"I ran out of my GI Bill benefits, so this will be a God send," Meade said. "My wife is going to school as well and she's pursuing her doctorate. Without this money, we'd have to go into a lot of debt, and that would create a lot of financial stress."
Meade knows all about stressful situations, having been an explosive ordnance disposal technician in the Army. That work, Meade said, is inspiring his professional and academic aspirations – to become an engineer and attend medical school.
"My work on the bomb squads got me interested in electronics and that kind of engineering mind-set," Meade said. "In addition, seeing so many people in my career field with amputations and with serious wounds, I want to bridge that gap between healthcare and engineering by capitalizing on my experiences to help these wounded veterans."
Currently, Meade is working as a research assistant in the UNO Department of Biomechanics on a project to develop a vibration device that could improve the balance and gait of people with lower-limb amputations.
"People with amputations come not only from military service in places like Iraq or Afghanistan, but from trauma accidents and diabetes," Meade said. "I understand the limitations of my role (as a student and research assistant), but seeing that years down the road what I'm doing now could help improve the quality of life of millions of people is very satisfying."
In addition to his academic successes, Meade also serves in many organizations within the College of Engineering and at UNO. He is president of the Student Veteran Organization, is past president of the Business Professionals of America, is in the Phi Kappa Phi and Tau Beta Pi honors societies, works as a tutor to fellow students and has volunteered at the Nebraska Robotics Expo and Prairie STEM.
Meade also finds time to volunteer as an Emergency Medical Technician and firefighter.
Staying busy and maintaining a 3.97 grade-point average isn't stressful, Meade said. Rather, it's just a function of who he's become.
"The tangible aspects are that the military set me up to work very hard in everything that I do and make me want to be the best at everything I do," Meade said. "I enjoy being an engineer and serving people. It's just something I do."