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AFL Presents Three Naruse Academic Scholarship Awards

Duncan S.C. September 05, 2023 | AFL awarded the 2023-2024 Naruse Academic Scholarship to three individuals this year. Scholarships were awarded to Emily Sipprell, daughter of Ezekiel Sipprell, Construction Manager with AFL Enterprise Services, David Wood, son of Brian Wood, Product Manager for the Accessories division, and Lucas Gatbonton, son of Genevieve Gatbonton, Accounts Receivable Coordinator for ATI Telecom International Company in Surrey, British Columbia.  

Naruse 2023-24_ Ezekiel Sipprell

Naruse 2023-24_David_Wood

Naruse 2023-24_Lucas Gatbonton

2023-2024 Naruse
Scholarship Recipients

Emily Sipprell is a 2023 graduate of North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics in Monroe, North Carolina. While enrolled, Emily completed five college level courses while balancing her responsibility as the Residential Assistant for her dormitory. Emily has a passion for caring for animals, and in her free time, she enjoys volunteering at a veterinary clinic, watching wildlife documentaries and crafting. Emily plans to attend Hollins University in Roanoke, Virginia, where she intends to enroll in their pre-veterinary program. She hopes to travel internationally to help rehabilitate animals living in their natural habitat.

David Wood graduated from Dorman High School in Spartanburg, South Carolina. While enrolled, he was a member of the National Honor Society, Beta Club and participated in AFL’s Co-Op program. In his free time, David enjoys writing music, playing the guitar and volunteering with Food Share, an organization that provides access to healthy food options. David's educational journey will continue through Wofford College’s Dual Degree Program, with plans to pursue a degree in mechanical engineering. Once he completes his studies, he aspires to return to AFL as an engineer.

Lucas Gatbonton is a 2023 Honors Graduate of Holy Cross Regional High School in Surrey, British Columbia. An avid soccer player, Lucas has been playing soccer competitively since the age of eight. When not competing, he spends time coaching young soccer athletes in training and summer camps. He was also involved in track and field, coaching and served as the volleyball scorekeeper. In addition to his academic and sports involvement, Lucas enjoys taking part in youth groups by helping lead and plan events focused on learning and growing in the Catholic faith. In the fall, Lucas will begin Simon Fraser University's Sustainable Energy Engineering program before enrolling into the University of British Columbia's Bachelor of Engineering program.

Each year, AFL awards a four-year scholarship to the son or daughter of a North American-based AFL associate entering a college or university. The scholarship was named in memory of Toshihide Naruse, Managing Director of Fujikura, AFL’s parent company. Mr. Naruse’s contributions to AFL were significant, and because of his personal interest in higher education, AFL continues to honor his memory.
For more information about AFL and its Community Outreach Program, visit our page.

About AFL
Founded in 1984, AFL is an international manufacturer providing end-to-end solutions to the energy, service provider, enterprise, hyperscale and industrial markets. The company’s products are in use in over 130 countries and include fiber optic cable and hardware, transmission and substation accessories, outside plant equipment, connectivity, test and inspection equipment, fusion splicers and training. AFL also offers a wide variety of services supporting data center, enterprise, wireless and outside plant applications.

Headquartered in Spartanburg, SC, AFL has operations in the U.S., Mexico, Canada, Europe, Asia and Australia, and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Fujikura Ltd. of Japan. For more information, visit Follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and read our blog.


Nancy Rice
Public Relations Specialist, AFL