Derek Silva, a second-year Stockbridge School of Agriculture student from Lowell studying sustainable food and farming, is the first recipient of a new scholarship established by the National Grid Foundation to encourage minority students to pursue green-related careers.
Funded with a $10,000 gift from the foundation, the GreenDependence Scholarship provides financial assistance to a qualified student interested in sustainability who wants to apply knowledge and skills through a community service-learning project. The three-year scholarship will be available to African-American, Native American, Asian, Pacific Islander, Hispanic and Latino students. Students are selected on the basis of academic performance, demonstrated financial need and the recommendation of a faculty committee.
According to National Grid Foundation President Robert G. Keller, GreenDependence refers to a vision for a future where dependence on green energy technologies is the norm rather than the exception and green solutions are employed to help reduce carbon emissions and increase use of sustainable practices and products.
With green career employment opportunities expected to be a $1.5 trillion industry by 2030, said Keller, this sector can provide unparalleled opportunities for students who seek career in fields ranging from law to architecture to the culinary arts.
“UMass Amherst and the National Grid Foundation seek to encourage students take ownership for the future of our planet reducing the impacts of climate change by taking personal action on campus, at home and ultimately their professional careers,” said Keller. “UMass Amherst is a natural choice to establish the GreenDependence Scholars Program. It is not only one of the country’s finest academic institutions—it is a leader in the campus sustainability movement and personifies the principles of GreenDependence.”
Image: Derek Silva, in green shirt, examines plants at a local farm with professor John Gerber and other students. (Photo by Jim Gipe, Pivot Media)