Seven Energy, Power-Related College Scholarships

June 23, 2009
SANTA CLARA, CA – June 22, 2009 – Five college scholarship grants and two technical grants for Santa Clara-based students pursuing studies in the energy services, public power and/or power industry have been awarded by Silicon Valley Power (SVP), the ...

SANTA CLARA, CA – June 22, 2009 – Five college scholarship grants and two technical grants for Santa Clara-based students pursuing studies in the energy services, public power and/or power industry have been awarded by Silicon Valley Power (SVP), the City of Santa Clara's municipal electric utility. SVP grant recipients were chosen by a panel of local power, business, and educational professionals.

Four graduating high school seniors and a university Ph.D candidate will receive $5,000 tuition grants. Albert Ai of Wilcox High School, Kara Johnson of Santa Clara High School, and Melissa Darr and Kamini Iyer of Archbishop Mitty High School will begin college in the fall. Sara Cooper, a Brown University graduate with a degree in Chemical Engineering, is pursuing a Ph.D in Applied Physics at the University of Sydney.

Marc Fontana, a Hewlett-Packard retiree and De Anza College student in the Energy Management Degree Program, and Scott Shaw, a certified electrician studying energy services at the Institute of Business and Technology (IBT), will be awarded $2,000 tuition grants.

“These seven recipients are outstanding examples of academic achievement and commitment to serving the public through their anticipated studies and work in energy-related fields,” said John Roukema, Director of SVP. “They all understand environmental responsibility and wish to pursue professions related to green energy, alternative fuels, and solutions for our climate crisis. SVP is proud to support these Santa Clara residents.”

Ai will study Electrical Engineering at Princeton University. In addition to taking Advanced Placement (AP) math, science, Japanese, and social studies courses at Wilcox, Ai took advanced math classes at Mission College. He's volunteered to work for the Ulistac Natural Area Restoration Project in Santa Clara, and at the San Jose Tech Museum.

Darr plans to study Environmental Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley. Honors and AP courses in science, math, Spanish, English and philosophy prompted her to pursue an education that will prepare her to work in the renewable and green energy field. A musician, swim instructor and competitive diver, Darr also participated in Archbishop Mitty service projects such as Save the Bay, St. Anthony's Association, Homeboys Industries and Los Niños (Tijuana, Mexico).

Iyer also is pursuing an Environmental Engineering degree at UC Berkeley, where she also intends to study economics and global issues. She indicated that a diverse environmentally-related curriculum will prepare her to help the energy and power industry to evaluate environmental impacts and offer appropriate solutions. Iyer is active in Habitat for Humanity, Sankara Eye Foundation, Udavum Karangal and the Madras Cancer Institute Foundation.

Johnson will study Genetic Engineering at UC Berkeley, expecting to enter a new field of study targeting the creation of alternative fuel sources such as “syn-gas.” She excelled in math and science classes at Santa Clara High, and was active in student government, school clubs, and church and community activities. A gymnast and track and field athlete, Johnson coaches children's gymnastics.

Cooper's work on her Ph.D in Applied Physics at the University of Sydney focuses on the practical application of advanced nanomaterials for use in renewable energy. A speaker at global conferences on nanotechnology and thermoelectrics, Cooper was a research fellow at the NASA Ames Center following her undergraduate education at Brown University.

Fontana will study at De Anza College to become an Energy Management and Conservation Specialist after passing the North American Board of Certified Energy Professionals (NABCEP) examination. After spending 26 years as a software support engineer at HP, Fontana plans to enter a new career that will combine his engineering skills with his knowledge of energy systems. He installed a photovoltaic system at his Santa Clara home in 2007.

Shaw also is interested in solar power and expects his studies at Santa Clara's IBT to lead to a career centered on the utilization of alternative energy sources. Shaw believes his technical and problem solving skills in tandem with his certification as an electrician will work toward responsible environmental solutions in the evolving energy field.

The recipients will be recognized at the Santa Clara City Council meeting June 23.

About Silicon Valley Power

Silicon Valley Power is the trademark adopted for use by the century-old Electric Department of the City of Santa Clara, California. SVP provides power to more than 50,000 customers, including Applied Materials, Intel, National Semiconductor and Yahoo!, at rates 25 to 45 percent below neighboring communities. SVP also offers customers a 100 percent renewable energy option through its award-winning Santa Clara Green Power program and is an active participant in the wholesale energy markets in the Western United States. Visit for more information.

About the City of Santa Clara Support and Celebrate Community/Volunteer Partnerships

In 2005, the City Council established an action item called Support and Celebrate Community/Volunteer Partnerships, as part of their Principles and Priorities 2005 – 2007. In response to this action item, City Manager and Staff designed and developed an award program, to be sponsored by the City of Santa Clara and the City's electric utility, Silicon Valley Power, to provide tuition and technical grants to students with a goal of entering a field related to energy service, public power, and/or the power industry to residents of Santa Clara.

Contacts: Larry Owens, Silicon Valley Power

Phone: 408-615-5690

Cell: 408-621-5873

Carol McCarthy, City of Santa Clara

Phone: 408-615-2213

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