Cancer Doesn't Stop Senior from Reaching His Educational Goals

Tuesday, November 17, 2015
Kane Weinberg riding his bicycle.

GE Whiz: Senior Kane Weinberg is anxious to become an engineer with General Electric Aviation after graduating from Rose-Hulman next spring - a mission enhanced by a scholarship from the National Childhood Cancer Society. He is cancer free after being diagnosed with a form of leukemia during high school.

Cancer is a frightening diagnosis at any age, but it is especially troubling when it strikes young people.

Kane Weinberg, a senior mechanical engineering major, was diagnosed with a form of leukemia as a 17-year-old high school senior football player in rural western Illinois. He realized something was wrong when it was taking him a long time to recover from a game or workout.

Weinberg was soon diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, also known as T-Cell ALL. A 10-day stay at St. Louis Children's Hospital was the beginning of an extensive treatment regimen that would last for three years, covering most of his time at Rose-Hulman.

"Right away, I got started on treatment, because that's the best way to tackle it," he recalls.

Now, Weinberg is cancer free, though he still gets monthly checkups. After graduation, he will join General Electric Aviation in Cincinnati as part of the company's Edison Engineering Development Program, a selective three-year accelerated career track for promising young GE engineers.

"I am excited about joining GE Aviation because the people are awesome," Weinberg says. "I also think GE Aviation improves people's lives by making the engines that help transport them quickly and safely where they need to go. And, GE's engines are incredibly complex and address some of the most difficult engineering challenges of our time. Also, they are really cool."

Weinberg completed two internships with GE Aviation during his four years at Rose-Hulman: one at the company's facility in Terre Haute, helping repair individual engine components, and the other in Cincinnati, developing new repair technologies.

Kane Weinberg Machine Shop

Buzz Off: For his senior project, mechanical engineering student Kane Weinberg is working on an off-the-grid mosquito repelling device for use in Africa.

"I've always wanted to be an engineer," Weinberg says. "And I've always thought airplanes were amazing."

Helping cover the cost of his education, each year since entering Rose-Hulman, Weinberg has received an annual scholarship from the National Children's Cancer Society (NCCS) through the non-profit organization's Beyond the Cure Ambassador Scholarship Program. Every year, the NCCS awards about 40 such scholarships to young cancer survivors attending college.

"The scholarship has helped me realize I still have a bright future and you can achieve your dreams," he says.

Cancer rebooted Weinberg's priorities, he says. Before the illness, he, like most high-school students, worried about things such as what shoes to wear or what kind of car to drive.

"All that doesn't really matter so much anymore," he says. "[Having cancer] really emphasized to me the importance of relationships with family and friends, and spending time with those who accept you for who you are."

The NCCS scholarship program has also introduced Weinberg to other young people who have gone through similar experiences, creating a mutual support network.

"Knowing someone else has been there is often the greatest alleviator of stress. It reminds you this is only temporary and eventually things get better."