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Aaron Weinkauf Wins 2022 McGrady Family Scholarship

On Thursday, June 2, Aaron Weinkauf, a business administration student and native of St. Marys, was honored as the recipient of the McGrady Family Scholarship for 2022. This year marks the third year the Elk County Community Foundation honored a student from Northern Pennsylvania Regional College as a winner of this award.

The scholarship’s mission is to improve health, welfare, and educational opportunities for families living in Elk County, Cameron County, and the greater Pittsburgh Area. Students qualify for this scholarship by being a resident from Elk or Cameron Counties, taking classes through the Northern Pennsylvania Regional College, and playing an active role in the school or community. This scholarship is for a student who is seeking a degree and attends an instructional location in Elk County, Cameron County, or Kane.

Weinkauf, a longtime business owner in St. Marys, decided he was ready to go back to school to help make his business, Weinkauf Electric Guitars, even more successful. For 13 years, the Elk County native has sold a collection of acoustic and electric guitars to customers of all ages and backgrounds.

Working full time at his guitar shop alongside going to school full time since January 2022, Weinkauf has had a busy start to 2022. This hard work is being recognized, as many years working in retail and business has given him real world knowledge and skills that transfer to his coursework. Weinkauf is hopeful the investment of being an NPRC business student will help take his business or career in business to bigger heights.

“I always wanted to go to school,” he explained. “It’s a two-way street; what more can I add to my business? or do I want to go in another direction? Maybe I want to add something to my business. I can’t do any of it unless I’ve got a better handle on the business end and even on the computers or technology. I got school into my budget, so let’s do this.”

He does not expect it to take long to receive his degree as his goal is to graduate in December 2023, or in just four total spring and fall semesters. It’s a short-term sacrifice in order to help advance his career as a businessman. The various instructional locations continue to aid learners like Aaron who continue to strive for more while remaining in the communities they call home.

When speaking about what he liked most about NPRC, Weinkauf was quick to note the affordability, accessibility, small class sizes, and the professionalism from the professors he has received instruction from during his time as an NPRC student.

“It’s pretty affordable and we’re not in a classroom with a lot of people to make things distracting,” he said. “The school is also less than a mile from my house which I like. When I’ve had problems come up, I’ve also really liked that the communication was there. I usually hear from instructors that same day. That goes a long way.”

Weinkauf has served the community for years, too, giving countless guitar lessons to residents around the area. He’s passed his knowledge and passion for playing guitar to others, something he can be proud of. For now, those lessons have been put on hold as he continues to work on his associate degree. Because of the impact he’s made from his business and these countless lessons, Weinkauf is an excellent selection to receive this award. He’s served his community in many ways during his lifetime, including providing the Elk County area and beyond with a storefront that allows customers to search for the perfect guitar for them.

Being a native of Elk County for all his life, he has seen the positive impact the Elk County Community Foundation and their scholarships have made for people investing in higher education. But now, it’s his turn to receive a scholarship to assist him in his own higher education venture, a journey that will allow him to keep rockin’ on and provide various options in his business career.

“For them to pick kind of the underdog, the abstract guy and offer me a scholarship; it was a big deal for me. I was really happy and am very grateful for what they did. I’m older than most of the people that were in my classes and am going to show up with a T-shirt with a heavy metal band on it. Nobody cares about that; they just want me to get good grades.”

With the help of the McGrady Family Scholarship, Aaron Weinkauf is sure to spread his love of heavy metal music and playing electric guitar for a long time to come. The degree he will receive will also allow him to pursue additional opportunities in his professional career. For now, his focus is to continue a path that will see him graduate after the Fall 2023 semester.

For more information about Northern Pennsylvania Regional College or scholarships, contact us or visit your local community foundation’s website.

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