Cameron Steele decided early in high school that he wanted to be an engineer. In school, he liked math, and later he developed an interest in chemistry, and began thinking about these as career choices. Influenced by a cousin who studied theology, and his older brother, Aaron, who studied civil engineering at Olivet Nazarene University, Steele also chose to attend Olivet Nazarene, where he is completing a degree in chemical engineering.
A senior from Mt. Vernon, Illinois, Steele says conversations with professors and other students are made much easier at a small university such as Olivet Nazarene – especially critical for an engineering student. “At Olivet, that’s something I can do particularly with my engineering professor whom I have conversations with day-to-day,” he says.
After graduating in May 2023, Steele sees himself working in industry, most likely in a processing or manufacturing plant. While at the university, he says he has learned much from summer internships related to his major. Steele has worked at a soil and water testing facility and Continental Tire Co., a well-known vehicle tire manufacturer. Most recently, he began work with CSL Behring, a pharmaceutical company.
To fund his education, Steele says he has benefitted from federal grants, Olivet Nazarene scholarships, three ACI General Scholarships, and tuition help from his parents. That funding, plus some money he earns himself from working a few hours per week, have made it possible for him to concentrate on his studies. “I have friends that work 40-hour work weeks while remaining a full-time college student, and I look at them, and I can’t believe they do what they do,” he says. “I would hate to have to be working full-time and not getting the most out of my education. I think that’s where I would be if I didn’t have the scholarships, particularly the ACI scholarship.”
“I’d just like to thank people, and particularly thank the donors and the people who make (scholarships) possible, and just let them know how much stress they take off.,” Steele says. “What I would say to someone who has helped make scholarships possible is that you really help improve the life of a college student. A lot of people say, ‘college is the best four years of your life.’ I think every college student deserves to have that social time, that social aspect of the university where they’re on campus with people their age. I think you’re giving people that time to have community, and not have to work and also focus on education.”
Away from the classroom, Steele works at Olivet Nazarene’s famous 53-foot rock wall rock wall. He is also president of the Olivet Nazarene chapter of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers.