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University of Nevada, Reno awarded $600,000 for renewable energy scholarships



A University of Nevada, Reno researcher samples for gases at a geothermal fumarole at Brady Hot Springs. Nevada is a leader in geothermal energy, which is just one of many energy, and renewable energy, careers engineering students can pursue through the new E-Scholars program. The scholarship program is for freshman in a variety of engineering degree programs in energy who enroll full-time in fall 2010 Photo by Jean Dixon, University of Nevada, Reno.

New engineering students pursuing a career in energy can apply for $6,500 annual scholarships in the new “E-Scholars Program: Fostering Engineering Careers in Energy” at the University of Nevada, Reno. The program is funded through a $600,000 National Science Foundation grant to provide financial, academic and professional development support for 20 incoming freshman studying renewable energy.

“This is a tremendous opportunity for students interested in energy, especially renewable energy,” Jeff LaCombe, associate professor in the chemical and metallurgical engineering department said. “The students will be supported all four years, as long as they meet goals, both in program participation and academic achievement.”

The National Science Foundation award will allow the E-scholars program, to provide four-year continual support geared towards students with demonstrated financial need. Additional support will be given through study skills training, tutoring, organized peer study groups, field trips, demonstrations, interaction with industry visitors to campus and internship opportunities.

“Energy, and specifically renewable energy, has become increasingly important to Nevada’s economy,” Manos Maragakis, dean of the College of Engineering, said. “This grant will allow us to build on our strong renewable energy program, our dozens of renewable energy research projects and will provide qualified graduates to the energy industry in Nevada.”

Instrumental in the creation and operation of the program are LaCombe’s colleagues Chuck Coronella, associate professor in the chemical and metallurgical engineering department; Eric Wang, associate professor in the mechanical engineering department; Rita Escher, director of Academic & Opportunity Support Programs and Mano Misra, director of the Renewable Energy Center and a professor in the materials engineering department.

“The University is a leader in renewable energy education in Nevada,” Misra said. “The University made impressive inroads in renewable energy curriculum with the addition of a Renewable Energy Minor in 2007. We conduct research on hydrogen fuels, biodiesel, plants to biofuels, geothermal and the many subcategories and components of these types of renewable power.

“We will continue to work to bring together education and industry to develop these systems here in Nevada, boosting the economy with jobs as well as sales of products and services.”

LaCombe said the E-Scholars program is designed to encourage historically under-represented groups in the engineering field, such as first-generation college students, women, ethnic minorities and disabled, to apply.

“We want students to know that the program will help them through all four years at the University, it’s an active program with many activities outside the classroom,” LaCombe said.

Applications are due July 2, 2010. Applicants must be freshmen enrolled in any engineering major entering full-time study in the fall of 2010. The E-Scholars program will be administered by the University’s TRiO Scholars Program, which will provide participants with the academic assistance and support necessary to successfully complete their baccalaureate degree.

“This is a one-time offer,” LaCombe said. “There are dozens of career choices in the field, and more to open in the future. Interested students should apply right away to be ready for the fall semester.”

For more information, and to apply, visit the E-Scholars website: http://www.unr.edu/e-scholars, or contact Rita Escher, Director of Academic & Opportunity Support Programs at 775-682-7780.

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