First Wind, an independent U.S.-based wind energy company, today announced that students from sixteen high schools across the country will be awarded a scholarship through the company’s signature First Wind Scholars program. The 2012 recipients were selected from the program’s most competitive pool in its three-year history, and represented project host communities in Hawaii, Maine, New York, Utah, Vermont and Washington and the company’s Boston headquarters. A total of $65,000 in scholarship dollars will be distributed.
The First Wind Scholars program offers one-time, $3,000 college scholarships to high school seniors in communities where the company has a project in operation, construction or in an advanced stage of development. Students must display strong potential for a successful post-secondary experience, as well as interest in pursuing studies focused on the environment, energy or the sciences. One $5,000 scholarship, renewable for four years, is awarded to a stand-out applicant from the competitive pool. This year’s recipient of the cumulative $20,000 scholarship is Isaac LaJoie from Presque Isle, Maine, near the Mars Hill Wind project. Isaac plans to attend MIT in the fall.
“Announcing these awards is always a pleasure, but even more so this year as our largest-yet group is full of young men and women from many of our communities across the country,” said Carol Grant, Senior Vice President of External Affairs for First Wind. “The past year has seen significant growth for First Wind as a company and as a result we have grown our First Wind Scholars program. It is so gratifying to see so many students apply to take advantage of this opportunity. These students will make up the next generation of leaders in energy and the sciences, and we are honored to play this role in their academic journeys.”
First Wind owns and operates two projects in Hawaii, the 30 MW Kaheawa Wind project on Maui and 30 MW Kahuku Wind project on Oahu. Construction is underway on Kawailoa Wind, a 69 MW project on Oahu, as well as a 21 MW expansion to Kaheawa Wind. This year’s recipients from Hawaii include the following four students:
Makena Ford of Laie, a student of Kahuku High School, will attend Brigham Young University and will major in Physics. She lives near the Kahuku project.
Matthew Matasci of Kihei attended St. Anthony Junior/Senior High School and is enrolled at Stanford University where he will pursue a degree in Civil Engineering. He lives near the Kaheawa project.
Abigail Okazaki, a graduate of Kamehameha Schools Maui, has been accepted to Yale University where she will study Environmental Science. She also lives near the Kaheawa project.
Tanya Torres of Waialua, a graduate of Waialua High School will pursue Environmental Studies at Pacific University. She lives near the Kawailoa project currently under construction.
First Wind owns and operates four projects in Maine: the 60 MW Rollins Wind project, situated in the towns of Lincoln, Burlington, Lee and Winn; the 57 MW Stetson I and 26 MW Stetson II projects, both near Danforth; and the 42 MW Mars Hill Wind project in Mars Hill. The company is developing two more Maine projects, Bull Hill Wind in Hancock and Oakfield Wind in Oakfield. As part of the 2012 program, First Wind awarded scholarships to five Maine high school seniors:
Christopher Derr of Ellsworth, who is a graduate of Ellsworth High School, will attend the University of Maine where he will major in Engineering. He lives near the Bull Hill project, which is currently under construction.
Logan Good of Presque Isle, who attended Presque Isle High School, has also enrolled into the University of Maine and plans to study Mechanical Engineering. Logan lives near the Mars Hill project.
Vance Gustin of Smyrna Mills and a graduate of Southern Aroostook Community School will also attend the University of Maine as a Chemical Engineering major. Vance lives near the planned Oakfield project.
Gavin Higgins of Lincoln, a graduate of Mattanawcook Academy, will study Power Engineering Technology at the Maine Maritime Academy. Gavin lives near the Rollins Wind project.
Isaac LaJoie from Presque Isle, and also a graduate of Presque Isle High School, will receive the First Wind Scholars renewable $5,000 award to pursue a degree in Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Isaac also lives near the Mars Hill project.
First Wind also awarded a scholarship to a student from Massachusetts, where the company is headquartered. Josie Valcin of Boston, who attended John D. O’Bryant High School, will attend Brown University in the fall with major in Biology.
First Wind owns and operates the 125 MW Cohocton Wind project in Cohocton and the 35 cumulative MW Steel Winds I and II projects in Lackawanna and Hamburg, built on the site of a former brownfield. In 2012, the following two New York students will be recipients of scholarships:
Benjamin Crewdson of Hamburg, a Frontier Central High School graduate, will attend Clarkson University in the fall where he will study Chemical Engineering. Benjamin lives near the Steel Winds I & II projects.
Dakota Price of Dansville, who attended Wayland-Cohocton High School, is enrolled in Princeton University to major in Engineering. Dakota lives near the Cohocton project.
The 306 MW Milford Wind project in Beaver and Millard counties is Utah’s largest utility-scale operating wind farm. The inaugural First Wind Scholars award in 2009 went to Utah student, and two high school seniors from the state will receive scholarship awards this year:
Colin Christensen of Oak City, who attended Delta High School, plans to study Engineering.
Juan Madrigal of Milford, a graduate of Milford High School, will pursue a certification as a Wind Technician/Electrician.
One student from Vermont, the home of 40 MW Sheffield Wind in the Northeast Kingdom, has also received a First Wind Scholars award. Derby resident Megan Perry, a graduate of North Country Union High School, is enrolled at the University of New England to pursue a degree in Biochemistry.
The start of construction on the company’s 105 MW Palouse Wind project was celebrated earlier this month. During an event on the project site, First Wind recognized Heidi Jamison, who is a graduate of Garfield-Palouse High School and will attend the University of Idaho to major in Agricultural Science and Technology.
The First Wind Scholars program was started in 2009 as a way to support college-bound high school seniors in the communities where the company has projects in operation or in an advanced stage of development. The awards support exceptional high school students who plan to pursue studies on the environment, energy or the sciences. The program has grown each year and scholarships have been awarded to 43 students totaling more than $150,000.