WVU alumnus Bob Alban (second from left) poses with (from left) daughters Annie and Lily and his wife, Jennifer. His $50,000 scholarship gift supports women pursuing STEM degrees at WVU.
A West Virginia University alumnus aims to boost the number of women working in STEM fields via a $50,000 scholarship gift to his alma mater.
Bob Alban, of Bedford, New Hampshire, said his daughters’ passion for curiosity inspired him to establish the Montshire Advisors Scholarship to Advance Women in STEM. The scholarship will be awarded to undergraduate students pursuing degrees in science, technology, engineering and math, with first preference for underrepresented women.
“Mr. Alban’s contribution to support underrepresented women in STEM is timely and well-received,” Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Maryanne Reed said. “We want to attract more women to these fields because there are so many opportunities for them when they graduate. This scholarship demonstrates that our University and alumni are committed to supporting students and growing the STEM pipeline.”
Alban earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from WVU in 1995. He said there were few women in the engineering program at the time, and he noted that women are often deterred from pursuing careers in STEM.
“I think it’s good to have a diversity of views in those kinds of professions,” Alban said. “I want to try and give an incentive to encourage girls to take up those types of programs. … I hope it will help somebody that’s in a STEM program be successful.”
Alban also understands the value of scholarships. He was grateful to receive a small scholarship after studying abroad in England during his junior year at WVU.
Alban has two daughters – Annie, 13, and Lily, 16 – who are both considering WVU after high school. Lily wants to study law, while Annie is interested in engineering.
Following his engineering education at WVU, Alban went on to earn an MBA from Georgetown University. He is now principal for Montshire Advisors, a finance firm focused on the U.S. insurance industry. Although his career shifted toward business, he said his engineering background has proven useful by teaching him how to methodically approach complex challenges.
“West Virginia University has meant a lot to me,” Alban said. “It changed my life. It put me on a path for success, and I’m very grateful for that. This is just a small token of appreciation for everything the university has done for me in my life.”
Alban’s gift was made through the WVU Foundation, the nonprofit organization that receives and administers private donations on behalf of the University.