In response to the growing demand for engineers working in clean energy, the Louisiana Wind Energy Hub at UNO, a collaboration between the University of New Orleans and The Beach at UNO, has launched the Wind Scholars Program. The program will award five scholarships of up to $5,000 to undergraduate and graduate students in the Dr. Robert A. Savoie College of Engineering who are interested in acquiring skills and knowledge in the realm of renewable energy.
“The Wind Scholars Program offers financial support for our students in addition to important opportunities critical to workforce readiness,” said Lizette Chevalier, dean of the Dr. Robert A. Savoie College of Engineering. “Specifically, the scholars will have a valuable hands-on experience through an internship and enhanced professional networking opportunities. This will provide them a solid competitive advantage when seeking opportunities after graduation.”
To qualify for the scholarship, junior or senior undergraduate students must choose one of four available paths, consisting of four courses, that corresponds to their degree program: civil engineering, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, or naval architecture and marine engineering. Graduate engineering students will pursue a track consisting of graduate-level courses.
“The offshore wind industry is in its nascent stages in the United States, but is projected to grow to an over $100 billion industry by 2030,” said Shafin Khan, vice president of external affairs and innovation at the Beach at UNO. “The Louisiana Wind Energy Hub has been working closely with our industry partners to understand their workforce needs as this industry grows. The Wind Scholars program is the first step in addressing this critical component.”
Each student will also be paired with an industry partner and receive a paid internship or summer experience with that company. RWE, Entergy and Gulf Wind Technology have already signed on as industry partners and will host an industry speaker series for UNO students.
“STEM internships create opportunities for students to gain hands-on experience and enter the workforce with valuable skills,” said Sam Eaton, CEO of RWE Offshore Wind Holdings. “As a leading offshore wind developer, RWE is proud to partner with the University of New Orleans on this new initiative that continues the momentum and legacy of training top offshore engineering talent to prepare the region for the future of energy. RWE will offer students a front row seat in a rapidly growing industry that is at the forefront of clean energy solutions.”
“The future of this state is a bright one,” said Phillip May, Entergy Louisiana president and CEO. “In order for us to see Louisiana reach its full potential we know we need to invest in education as well as our power grid. This program delivers on both of those fronts and I’m proud that Entergy gets to be a part of such an outstanding program.”
“Our partnership with the University of New Orleans is an example of how we, industry and educators, must work together to encourage our next generation of diverse innovators,” said Deanna Rodriguez, president and CEO of Entergy New Orleans. “Re-imagining the energy grid will require people with knowledge, curiosity and creativity, and those innovators will come from the Wind Scholars Program.”
According to the Department of Energy, the U.S. has the third largest offshore wind market capacity in the world. Over the next several years, the nation has plans to significantly increase its alternative energy production by installing wind farms in the Gulf of Mexico that will be able to power more than 1 million homes across the Gulf Coast.
The Louisiana Wind Energy Hub at UNO was launched in August 2022 with the goal of accelerating the growth of the state’s wind energy innovation ecosystem. The hub fosters a collaborative ethos that supports emerging companies, spurs the development of novel technology and helps supply trained professionals to the rapidly growing renewable energy sector.
The deadline for students to apply is June 9, 2023. The online application is available here.