Newton’s Second Law of Motion—force equals mass times acceleration—is an apt figurative description of systems engineering major Eddie Ma ’18.
The proof is a long list of Ma’s academic and extracurricular achievements. His personal drive is the force behind it all. But the financial support he receives in the form of two scholarships, the Robert S. Walker Regimental scholarship and Kirsten J. Friberg Memorial scholarship, have proven essential.
“Some people pass through MMA keeping a low profile, but Eddie isn’t one of those people,” says Chris Gilman ’16, a former student mentor.
Learn from the Best
In 2002, Ma immigrated with his family from China to Connecticut where he graduated in 3 ½ years from high school in 2008. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy, trained as a gas turbine technician, graduating at the top of his class, and was assigned to the Seventh Fleet in Japan.
“I was told in tech school if you don’t advance to E5 (Petty Officer, Second Class) within your first contract, you’re not doing it right,” says Ma. “I was also told, ‘Look for the best. Learn from the best.’
“So I had that mindset going into my first assignment, and was lucky two people recognized I wanted to learn and took me under their wing. Within three years, I qualified for Engine Duty Officer and Fire Marshall.”
At the end of his enlistment, Ma set his sights on attending college. But his family recruited him to help his father start a business fabricating granite countertops and cabinetry. Involvement in bootstrapping the company introduced Ma to entrepreneurial experience—finding a manufacturing facility location,