West Virginia University senior David Beahr is the recipient of a $3,000 scholarship from the Specialty Equipment Market Association. The award is given to students interested in pursuing careers in automotive-related industries and recipients are invited to attend the 2016 SEMA Show in Las Vegas, Nevada, in November.
Beahr admits that his choice of a major—petroleum and natural gas engineering—may
not seem a likely choice for someone interested in pursuing a career in automotives.
But the Windber, Pennsylvania, native sees it differently.
“Companies are constantly searching for new methods to improve fuel efficiency,” Beahr said. “Some make use of turbo or other forced air intakes to increase mileage, while others may lighten the weight of a vehicle. Many companies have even researched hydrogen or electric powered engines. You seldom read, however, about an incorporation focusing on the analysis of a natural petroleum paraffin being used.
“I’m confident that by researching petroleum composition, a method can be deviated to structurally rearrange the octane molecule and compound additives, creating a more fuel efficient petroleum product,” Beahr continued. “I also want to develop a special fuel stabilizer for antique carburetors. Becoming a petroleum engineer is the only way to achieve these goals and contribute to automotive markets.”
Beahr’s love for all things automotive comes from his father, Paul, who works side-by-side with him on antique car restorations and as his crew chief on the dirt track racing circuit.
“Being a driver since age 16, with my father as my mentor and crew chief, helped instill in me the importance of hard work and responsibility,” Beahr said. “Those long nights in the garage and at the track not only gave me lessons in life and manufacturing, but a burning passion to be the best.”
He’s also one of the best in the classroom, consistently landing on either the University’s President’s or Dean’s lists. He also serves as president of WVU’s chapter of Tau Beta Pi, the engineering honor society.
“Whether he is spending his weekend restoring classic cars, racing at the dirt track or working in his family’s auto parts store, David is immersed in all things automotive,” said Melissa Morris, teaching assistant professor of fundamentals of engineering and TBP chapter advisor. “As a car-lover myself, David and I have had numerous conversations relating to his desire to pursue a career in the automotive industry after graduation and his plans to continue to support and participate in stock car racing.
“Beyond his excellent academic performance and unparalleled passion for the automotive industry,” Morris continued, “it should be noted that he is the most humble, respectful student I have ever had the pleasure of teaching.”