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2020 Scholarship Recipients

George William Kajjumba
- University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Dr. Pankaj Parekh Memorial Scholarship

Since being named the recipient of Dr. Pankaj Parekh Memorial graduate scholarship, my dream is becoming a reality at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas—Howard R. Hughes Engineering school. The $5000 award allows me to earn toxicity, material synthesis, and water treatment skills to serve the water, food, and energy community following graduation. The scholarship helped me pay part of my tuition, which enabled me to focus on my studies—CGPA 4.0. Having secured part of my funding with this scholarship, I was able to concentrate on my research. I have been able to conduct experiments and communicate my findings through presentations and research articles. 

My research, supervised by Dr. Erica J. Marti, focuses on treating wastewater with economically viable materials and using the treated water and recovered nutrients to boost food production while ensuring that the treatment materials are safe to both animals and plants in regards to toxicity. My research ensures that we meet the United Nation Sustainable Development Goals of clean water, no poverty, hunger eradication, sanitation, and life below/above water. 

The innovativeness of my research has earned me spotlights on a national and international level; for example, I was selected to participate in the prestigious 70th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting. With part of the scholarship money, I will be able to attend the five-day conference in Germany. Once again, thank you for your generous support—I hope to continue my association with AWWA and one day, I will reciprocate the kindness. 

Thomas Kaps - University of Nevada, Reno
Melinda Rho Memorial Undergraduate Scholarship

I was awarded a Melinda Rho Memorial Undergraduate Scholarship in the amount of $2,500 for the 2020-2021 school year from the CA-NV Section of AWWA.  This scholarship has impacted my studies and advancement in multiple ways and I am very grateful for the award!

I have just completed my second year studying Chemical Engineering at the University of Nevada, Reno.  The year was unusual and eventful due to the COVID pandemic and the resulting restrictions.  All of my classes went online and I had to transition to remote learning with contact with my professors and peers only occurring through remote technology.  It was not easy or necessarily conducive to studying STEM subjects, but I was able to pivot quickly and adjust.  I completed courses in Chemical Engineering, Organic Chemistry, Physics and Statics, Differential Equations and Linear Algebra, and Computers in Engineering while still earning a 4.0 GPA.  My favorite course was Fluid Mechanics and I scored a perfect 100% in the class!

Although everything was conducted through Zoom meetings and Discord chat rooms, I was still able to be very active in my UNR CREATE (Creating Retention and Engagement for Academically Talented Engineers) cohort, as well as my extracurricular activities such as the student sections of ASCE (American Society of Civil Engineers) and AlCHE (American Institute of Chemical Engineers).  I have also continued my volunteer work with various community programs. 

During the year I was selected to initiate a CREATE Scholar Engineering Tutor program where I held open Zoom study sessions with tutoring help for remote students while also providing them with needed peer connection and other resources (such as mental health referrals and technology connections).  I initially provided tutoring in 9 courses, then it was expanded to 14 courses for the Spring semester.  I also picked up additional employment as a UNR PASS (Peer Assisted Study Sessions) in Physics, working directly with a professor to provide review sessions and tutoring. 

I applied for numerous summer internships in Chemical Engineering, research academics, and water resources but most of them were held up by COVID restrictions.  I was finally offered a summer research position at UNR on a storm water treatment project sponsored by NDOT to assist with a pilot-scale treatment unit system, but the offer came too late after I had accepted other summer employment.  However, I am eagerly anticipating participating in the research position as soon as school starts again in the fall.

The financial impact of receiving the Melinda Rho Scholarship has relieved my financial burden immensely and has allowed me to focus more on my continued studies, with the goal of entering the combined BS/Masters in Chemical Engineering program this year.  In addition, I have been very appreciative of all of the resources and information my AWWA membership has provided over the past year, including the virtual convention, the newsletters, online magazines and journals, and the webinars.  Connection with AWWA has opened up a multitude of possibilities for me!  Thank you for all of these opportunities.

Elle Lowe - California Baptist University
Undergraduate Scholarship

With my American Water Work Association Undergraduate CA-NV scholarship, I was able to use the $2,500 towards my final year of college.  The pandemic caused my classes and coursework to be fully online, making it necessary to have a laptop with video capabilities.  My current laptop was not able to run Zoom and WebEx that my classes were being held on, so with the scholarship money I was able to purchase a laptop that I could do my schoolwork and classes on.  With the rest of the money, I purchased school supplies and textbooks that were required for my classes. I graduated in April 2021 with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering.  I will be searching for a full-time job upon graduation and working towards my professional engineering license. I hope to work in a municipality in the public works sector.

Lori Jones
- Cuyamaca College
Undergraduate Scholarship

I am so appreciative of this wonderful scholarship. I am happy to say I am a successful career changer, thanks in big part to this award. I have been very busy and have made great use of it. I am finishing up at Cuyamaca College currently and I will be receiving a certificate of Achievement in water treatment.  I am a member of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. I took several classes online during lockdown in water conservation, water and wastewater treatment through Sacramento State Water Programs and had a Public Works Management class through Palomar College.  In addition I took the CWEA webinars to prep for the Grade 1 Laboratory Analyst exam. I am taking the T2 exam next week and have registered for the D2. 

I was doing an Internship through SDCWA that ended during the last quarter due to the pandemic. During the Pandemic I worked on the COVID Response Team for the county of San Diego as an Outbreak Investigator in the Epidemiology department. Currently I am working as a Laboratory Technician for the city of San Diego (Public Utilities) in Environmental Chemistry Services.  I work at South Bay Water Reclamation Plant and I love it! For fun, I was AWWA student chapter President and was on the planning committee for the Women in Water Symposium. 

Euna Kim

University of Southern California
CA-NV Section Graduate Scholarship

Sean Low

California State University, Long Beach
CA-NV Section Undergraduate Scholarship 

Steve Sanchez

Santiago Canyon College
One AWWA Operator Scholarship

Robert Teeter

West Valley Water District
One AWWA Operator Scholarship