Forman Scholar William Oakes Broadcasts his College Excitement

Big things are in store as the Class of 2019 prepares to head off to college, and new Forman Scholar William Oakes is no exception.

With a lifelong passion for finding out how the things we use every day are made and work, William is heading off to Lafayette College this fall to pursue studies in the field of engineering. Though his father is also an engineer, it was a selection of introductory engineering courses he took through Rowan’s STEAM Academy during high school that truly made up his mind that this field of study could be perfect for him.

“Getting the opportunity to see what college courses are like was a big factor in me deciding that engineering was something that interested me,” said William. “I feel more prepared than if I went to college without getting this experience first.”

As a student, William is someone who takes his studies quite seriously. He’s always been a high-performer in the classroom. But as he gets to college, William is looking forward to fully immersing himself in campus life this fall. Beyond his studies, William was a phenomenal saxophone player in high school, and hopes to be able to continue playing at Lafayette. He also loves sports and has plans to participate in intramurals.

Additionally, what makes Lafayette College a strong fit for William is the fact that its liberal arts curriculum will allow him to take engineering classes while also studying a number of other interesting courses outside his major. He also has his eyes set on broadening his horizons by studying abroad in Spain or Germany sometime during his college career.

Of course, like any incoming freshman, William does have reservations about some aspects of college life. William admits he is nervous about living away from his home in Salem and is unsettled by the uncertainty of dining hall food. But the best part of the Forman Scholars program is that even if he’s the only Scholar attending Lafayette College, he’ll never be alone. He has a mentor in fellow Forman Scholar Emily Hill whom he plans to lean on for advice and tips on navigating the challenges of freshman year.

“The Foundation has been a huge help to me in more ways than one,” William said. “Beyond the scholarship dollars that will help me afford college, they have given me so much support, guidance and direction throughout the process that it has already made the transition to college much easier.”

William is off to Easton, Pennsylvania, at the end of August but is keeping himself busy in the meantime by giving back to others in the area before he leaves. With a passion for community service, William will dedicate his free time to helping others in between working as a server at his local nursing home.

“I’m excited about going to college like anyone but of course, there are nerves there too,” William said. “All in all, I can’t wait to start making new friends and taking classes that are more in line with what I’m interested in.”


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