In 1960, Robert Dougherty, a Washington, DC lawyer with a lumber association background, was selected by members of the particleboard industry to be the first Executive Vice President of the newly formed National Particleboard Association (NPA), a position he held until his retirement 23 years later. During those years, Bob kept his fingers on the pulse of an industry that grew from 232 million square feet/year to more than 3 billion square feet/year today. Bob Dougherty passed away in 1985 after providing industry with over two decades of invaluable service and leadership. The Foundation was formed in 1986 by the members of the NPA (now the CPA) in memory Robert Dougherty. The Foundation’s sole purpose is to provide financial assistance to students in industry related fields of study.

The Robert E. Dougherty Educational Foundation is managed by a Board of Directors and is sponsored and funded by the Composite Panel Association (CPA).


The mission of the Robert E. Dougherty (RED) Intern Scholarship Program is dedicated to providing educational financial support to students that have interned in the composite panel industry.

Goals and Objectives include:

To advance the education and training of students who have demonstrated an interest in the composite panel industry through financial support and encouragement of industry internship programs.

The Program will focus on students interested in working at the production facilities and not necessarily at the corporate offices. The program will help share success stories of interns contributing to projects related to manufacturing, production efficiencies, capital improvement projects, technical issues and research and development type work.

Through outreach, the Program will encourage young people to learn about and appreciate the good news story of composite panels. The recycled and reclaimed wood and agricultural fiber used to make the panels are natural, renewal, environmentally friendly and a sustainable resource.


The 2021 awards will consist of three scholarships of up to $4,000 each. Scholarship awards are in the form of checks made payable directly to the student.


In addition to the scholarship awards, a short biography of all scholarship nominees will be posted on the Composite Panel Association (CPA) website. Companies will be encouraged to consider these nominees when making employment decisions. The biographies advertise a nominee’s academic achievements and career aspirations to more than 170 companies in the composite panel, forest products, decorative surfaces, furniture, cabinet and related industries. Following the announcement of the award recipients, the Foundation will send a press release to industry publications describing the scholarship program and recognizing the students awarded the scholarships. Applicants are encouraged to familiarize themselves with CPA and learn about the many diverse career opportunities the industry has to offer.


  • Student must be nominated by a CPA member company or North American company that meets the eligibility requirements of CPA membership.

  • Student must have interned for a company within the previous 24* months of the announcement date of the 2021 scholarship program. Intern positions may be paid or unpaid positions.

  • Student must be a citizen or permanent legal resident of the US, Canada, or Mexico.

  • Student must be enrolled in a high school, community college, university or attend a trade school for the spring semester of 2021.

  • Eligible curriculums and areas of study include:
    • Forest Products (wood science, wood technology)
    • Physical Sciences (chemistry, biology, physics)
    • Engineering (chemical, mechanical, industrial)
    • High Schools and Trade Schools (studying or intern position associated with – mechatronics, machine technician, process technician, millwright, welding, electrician)

If you are unsure of your company’s eligibility or the academic eligibility, email Gary Heroux for more information. 

*Eligibility revised from original announcement (Updated January 28, 2021)


  1. Each company may nominate one student per scholarship cycle. The nominating company shall communicate the scholarship opportunity to their intern. The company shall write a letter of recommendation.

  2. The student shall complete the scholarship application form, attach an official 2020 school transcript, if applicable, and submit a written one to two-page essay answering one of the questions below.
    – Describe some of the ways your field of study can benefit the wood products industry, specifically the wood composite panel industry?
    – Should the composite panel industry offer apprenticeship programs to better train for their workforce?

  3. Only electronic submissions will be accepted. Please provide the following in a single PDF document that includes the application form, official school transcript (if applicable), essay, nomination form and recommendation letter via email to Gary Heroux no later than March 16, 2021.
Date Milestone
January 2021 Release of 2021 Intern Scholarship Program to industry and academic institutions
March 16, 2021 Scholarship application deadline
March / April 2021 RED Scholarship Committee reviews applications and develops recommendations
Spring Meeting 2021 RED Foundation Board meets and considers the recommendations
May/June 2021 Award recipients sent notification letters; winners announced in CPA newsletter @theedge; student biographies posted on CPA website; press release to trade magazines about new program and award recipients

The Foundation is funded by generous donations from member companies.


2021: Scholarship Applicants List

For more information, contact Gary Heroux

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