One of the main missions of the PPA, a 66-year-old association of individuals with at least 25 years of activity in the plastics industry, is to support plastics education. Typically the PPA disburses about $30,000 annually for 10 or more scholarships of $3000 each to undergraduate students in colleges and universities that offer courses in polymers or plastics.
The PPA scholarships are currently administered through the Society of Plastics Engineers SPE Foundation. Other PPA donations are made to support educational programs such as the SPE Plastivan and the Polymer Ambassadors "teach-the-teacher" program. The funds are approved annually and come from the PPAQ Education Fund, which includes income from investments and contributions by its members, which now number about 200.
To change the awarding of scholarship funds from an annual appropriations vote to a permanent, self-funding basis, the PPA voted to move toward endowed scholarships at specific schools. Its first endowed scholarship is at the University of Massachusetts-Lowell. The resulting fully endowed scholarship will be sufficient to award at least $3000 to one Lowell student each year in perpetuity. U. Mass-Lowell's Plastics Engineering Department will choose each year's recipient and the PPA will provide oversight of the program.
The first recipient of the endowed scholarship at Lowell will be incoming undergraduate senior Michael Magaletta from Derry, N.H. According to Prof. Robert Malloy, chairman of Lowell's Plastics Engineering Dept., Magaletta has a 3.99 GPA and has done one summer cooperative program at Gillette and will be returning there this summer. He will be recognized at the Fall PPA meeting where he will discuss the value of the scholarship to his education and future career in the plastics industry.
The PPA is exploring creation of other similar endowed scholarships with a number of educational institutions offering degrees in plastics engineering and technology.