Ryan Powanda says the people he hung out with last summer were so smart, he didn't think he had a shot at getting a National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship.
It turns out that Powanda's peers at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colo., some of whom also applied for the fellowship, were in pretty good company. Powanda, a 2009 ISAT graduate, is headed to Stanford University with all expenses paid.
Only about 10 percent of applicants receive the fellowship, which will cover Powanda's tuition for three years and will also pay him $30,000 a year for three years. Powanda, who is graduating magna cum laude, will spend his first year at Stanford in a master's program studying energy and atmospheric science in the civil and environmental engineering department. After that, he plans to enter a doctoral program at Stanford.
At JMU, Powanda majored in integrated science and technology and founded the JMU Clean Energy Coalition. A student in the JMU honors program, he also became a member of the EARTH Club and joined the Society of Automotive Engineers, the Environmental Business Club and the Association of Energy Engineers. In addition, he is a winner of the MTV Break the Addiction Challenge and served as the student representative to the Sustainable Campus Work Group and the Center for Energy and Environmental Sustainability governing body. JMU President Linwood H. Rose appointed Powanda to his Presidential Commission on Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability.
In spring 2007, Powanda was one of 80 students nationwide awarded a $5,000 Morris K. Udall Undergraduate Scholarship. The Udall Scholars were chosen on the basis of commitment to careers in the environment, health care or tribal public policy, leadership potential and academic achievement.
Before heading to Stanford, Powanda will spend the first couple months of summer back at NREL, where he works in the commercial building department modeling energy technologies designed to reduce energy consumption by retail buildings, office buildings and other commercial structures.