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Silicon Valley Power Offers Scholarships, Trade School Grants

April 17, 2014
SVP Now Taking Applications for 2014-2015 School Year

Two Santa Clara residents who were awarded university tuition scholarships from Silicon Valley Power (SVP) in 2009 and 2011 are poised to move to the next level of their education.

Mark Wagner and Kara Johnson are two of 25 college scholarship and six technical school grant recipients from the SVP Scholarship Awards Program that has distributed $137,000 since 2006. SVP, the City of Santa Clara’s municipal electric utility, is now accepting applications for tuition scholarships from college and technical school students for the2014-15 school year. Applicants must be enrolled for the fall term and pursuing studies or a career related to energy services, electric utilities, or the power industry in general.

“SVP is pleased to invest in Santa Clara’s most promising university and technical school students who want to study the newest resources, technologies and techniques associated with themodern demand for power,” said John Roukema, SVP Director, adding that job opportunities abound for technicians as well as for researchers such as recipients Wagner and Johnson.

Wagner graduated from Santa Clara University (SCU) last June and is working toward a master’s degree inmechanical engineering. His current project is researching solar powered refrigeration for use in remote areas. Mark received a $5,000 grant in 2011.

“The scholarship had a great impact on me,” Wagner said. “Knowing that SVP and the selection committee supported my efforts was personally motivating and allowed me to focus on school.”

“Right now, refrigerators in remote and developing areas are powered by electricity or propane. Both of these sources of energy can be expensive and produce harmful carbon emissions. An efficient system to power a refrigerator with solar energy could have a positive impact on health, hygiene and economic activity worldwide,” Wagner said.

Johnson was awarded $5,000 in 2009 as she prepared to attend the University of California-Davis following graduation from Santa Clara High School.

“The SVP scholarship allowed me the time to pursue two majors, and that made a huge difference in my academic career,” said Johnson, now a U.C. San Diego Ph.D. candidate with degrees from U.C. Davis in genetics and biological systems.

Johnson won a Sandia National Laboratory Design Award last year for her work on a sensor to determine thesugar content of algae, a key component necessary to developing an economically feasible biofuel, a source of energy.

 “I’m very grateful to Silicon Valley Power for allowing me to concentrate on my studies from the start,” Johnson said. “Anyone who knows they have a passion for green energy or the energy industry should apply for the scholarship program.” Kara studied alternative biofuels and emerging energy resources while earning her dual undergraduate degrees at U.C. Davis.

Students have until April 30, 2014 to submit applications for the 2014-2015 SVP Scholarship Awards program. Information and forms are available at

Kara Johnson with carbon probe Kara Johnson with carbon probe Kara Johnson shows her work on a carbon probe she used in her biofuels sensor research at U.C. San Diego. A 2009 recipient of a Silicon Valley Power scholarship, the Santa Clara High School graduate earned undergraduate degrees in genetics and biological systems at U.C. Davis. Applications from college and trade school students for the 2014-2015 school year are now being accepted.

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