First Wind, an independent U.S.-based wind energy company, recently announced the 2012 recipients for their First Wind Scholars program. Scholarships have been awarded to college-bound students from communities where the company currently has a project in operation or in an advanced stage of development.
On Maui, First Wind developed and operates Kaheawa Wind, a 30MW project on a ridgeline above Ma'alaea Harbor, and has begun a 21 MW second phase.
Four of this year's 16 national recipients are from Hawai'i, including two from Maui--Matthew Matasci from St. Anthony Junior-Senior High School and Abigail Okazaki from Kamehameha Schools Maui. Each received $3,000 scholarships through the program.
Maui students Abigail Okazaki and Matthew Matasci are two of Hawai‘i’s four students among a total of 16 national recipients to receive scholarships from the First Wind Scholars program.
Okazaki, captain of the varsity tennis team and president of the National Honors Society, coordinated a CFL-incandescent light bulb exchange through the Rotary Club of Upcountry Maui and Hawai'i's Blue Planet Foundation, a local nonprofit organization committed to ending the use of fossil fuels on Earth, starting in Hawai'i She will attend Yale University, where she will study environmental science.
Matasci of Kihei received an Eagle Scout Award. His interests include reading, photography and music. He will attend the University of Southern California to study civil engineering.
"Announcing these awards is always a pleasure, but even more so this year as our largest-yet group is full of young men and women from many of our communities across the country," said Carol Grant, senior vice president of external affairs for First Wind. "The past year has seen significant growth for First Wind as a company, and as a result, we have grown our First Wind Scholars program. It is so gratifying to see so many students apply to take advantage of this opportunity. These students will make up the next generation of leaders in energy and the sciences, and we are honored to play this role in their academic journeys."
The First Wind Scholars program was started in 2009 as a way to support college-bound high school seniors in the communities where the company has projects in operation or in an advanced stage of development. The awards support exceptional high school students who plan to pursue studies on the environment, energy or the sciences. The program has grown each year and scholarships have been awarded to 43 students totaling more than $150,000.
First Wind also owns and operates the 30 MW Kahuku Wind project on O'ahu. Construction is underway on Kawailoa Wind, a 69 MW project on O'ahu.
For more information on First Wind Scholars, visit www.firstwind.com/scholarships.