Home > Wise Water Words > 2016 > Fall/Winter 2016 > Three 2016 Leisen Scholarships

Three Students Honored with Leisen Scholarships

The Nebraska Section - American Water Works Association established the Colonel Theodore A. Leisen Memorial and Training Endowment Fund in 1993 to encourage water industry professionals to obtain additional training and to encourage graduate and undergraduate students to choose the water industry as their field of work.

Colonel Theodore Alfred Leisen was one of the incorporators of AWWA and served as president from 1917 to 1918. He also chaired several national committees on public health and pollution. Leisen was named general manager of the Metropolitan Utilities District in Omaha in 1923 at the age of 59, and he retired at the age of 74. Leisen returned to Detroit and died in 1944. In 1993, AWWA inducted him into the AWWA National Hall of Fame.

The scholarship committee received 14 applications and decided to award three scholarships of $1,000 each.

Lauren Klaasmeyer is currently attending the University of Nebraska - Lincoln, pursuing a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering, with an expected graduation date of May 2019. Her hometown is Burr, Nebraska. Lauren performs community service through church meals, Antelope Creek stream clean-ups, Matt Talbot Kitchen outreach efforts, and science education progrmming at the Lincoln Children's Museum.

From Lauren's application: "Water quality is an important issue to me, and will become a greater societal issue in coming years...I am still figuring out what fit would be best for me...[and] I hope to find a company where I believe I am doing good work and making a difference...It would be rewarding to know I was working in a position that allowed me to contribute to solving this problem, whether in a specific community, or on a broader basis, trying to figure out a widespread solution....I am highly considering a water-related career. Good water quality and treatment are important for a smoothly functioning society. By working in such an area, I would feel that I was making a valued contribution to society. I hope to make an impact through various possibilities such as providing useable water, or helping a plant cut back on water use, or more efficiently treating their wastewater."

Noelle Mware is currently attending the University of Nebraska Lincoln, pursuing a doctorate in civil/environmental engineering, where she is a first-year student. She received her bachelor's degree in environmental engineering from Benedict College (Columbia, SC) in May 2016. She is from Kenya. Noelle serves as a member of UNL Recycle and has been involved in several environmental and clean-up endeavors.

From Noelle's application: "My passion for...enhancing water infrastructure through environmental engineering has been strengthened by the ongoing water contamination issues. My mantra that clean water is essential to everyone drives my pursuit for further studies in environmental engineering so as to develop a stronger skill set for sustainable methods in contaminant remediation. Born and bred in Kenya, I significantly identify the need for environmental engineers in the water sector as influenced by the inefficiency of clean drinking water. For this reason, I am pursuing a doctorate degree at UNL."

Matthew Thompson is currently attending the University of Nebraska - Lincoln, pursuing a master's degree in environmental engineering, where he is a first-year student. He received his bachelor's degree in chemical engineering from UNL in May 2016. His hometown is Elkhorn, Nebraska. Matt's student involvement includes serving as the environmental engineering program representative to the Graduate Student Assembly (GSA), as well as service on the professional development committee.

From Matt's application: "Water is life. Throughout my time in college, I have started to understand what this really meant and have seen a glimpse at how much energy, time, and heat is being poured into the preservation of this resource. These experiences have shaped me to want to pursue a path of wanting to be involved with helping rebuild infrastructure and improve education in the wastewater treatment field. [...] I want to work in the wastewater sector for about 5-10 years...following this I want to return to school to get a Ph.D. with an emphasis in the wastewater treatment field...I am planning on centering my thesis around a wastewater operator training program that can help educate operators how to specifically run their type of plant more effectively in terms of treatment...and energy efficiency."

We thank committee members Larry Andreason, Adam Darbro, Chip Haas, Rod Kirkland, and Mike Koenig for their help in selecting this year's honorees.