ORANGE -- Tinkering and toying in the basement has paid off for a high school senior from Wakefield, Rhode Island.
Matt Sheehy is the first recipient of the University of New Haven's Kaufmann Scholarship, which rewards the winner with a four-year ride to the engineering school.
Sheehy, 17, was selected as a finalist with six other high school seniors and ultimately won the scholarship after wowing the judges with his homemade hovercrafts.
"I love building things," Sheehy said while visiting the Orange campus of UNH, where the engineering school is located. "This started two years ago in my after school program, one of the projects we did was a hovercraft."
Ron Harichandran, the dean at the UNH engineering school, said, "Each student had about 20 minutes to make an oral presentation of their project to show their prototype." Harichandran noted that Sheehy's presentation stuck out: "I think he's an incredibly motivated individual, very dynamic."
The scholarship will be awarded to an incoming freshman every two years.
Meanwhile, Sheehy will begin at UNH in the fall. "I got a scholarship for doing something I love," Sheehy added excitedly.