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Scholarships Awarded at 2019 Fall Conference

At the Fall Conference this past November, the Nebraska Section AWWA Scholarship Committee had the privilege of awarding over $6,000 in scholarships! We would like to tell you a little more about the awards.

One AWWA Operator Scholarship

Dale Kaliff

A One AWWA Operator Scholarship (OAOS) was awarded by the Nebraska Section to Dale Kaliff of the Village of Utica. The Nebraska Section American Water Works Association (AWWA) became a partner in the Association's operator scholarship program, which is part of the Water Equation campaign, in 2016. The program matches a Section's scholarship contributions, dollar-for-dollar, for the creation of this new scholarship. Two scholarships of $1,000 each are available every year. The first such scholarship from the Nebraska Section was awarded in 2017.

Scholarship awards can be used for certification or licensure, two- or four-year water-related associate's degrees, technical school programs, professional training programs, books and manuals, and operator-related conferences. In addition, each scholarship recipient receives a one-year AWWA Operator membership! Funds are distributed via reimbursement.

The scholarship committee received one application in 2019, which was awarded.

One AWWA scholarship winner
(L-R) Craig Reinsch, Dale Kaliff (Village of Utica), and Mary Gugliuzza (AWWA Public Affairs Council); photo by Daryl Kottwitz

We are honored to assist Dale with his future career goals, and would encourage you to inform other water operators who want to participate in this scholarship. There are two $1,000 scholarships available each year. Additional information, including the scholarship application, can be found on the Scholarship Committee page.

Colonel Theodore A. Liesen Scholarships

The second scholarship awarded was the Colonel Theodore A. Liesen scholarship. The Nebraska Section AWWA established the Colonel Theodore A. Liesen Memorial and Training Endowment Fund in 1993 to encourage water industry professionals to obtain additional training and encourage graduate and undergraduate students to choose the water industry as their field of work.

The scholarship honors Colonel Theodore Alfred Liesen, who was one of the incorporators of AWWA and served as president from 1917-1918. He also chaired several national committees on public health and pollution. Liesen was named general manager of the Metropolitan Utilities District (MUD) in Omaha in 1923 at age 59. He announced his retirement on July 19, 1939, at age 74. Liesen 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 four $1,000 scholarships.

David Brewster

David Brewster attends the University of Nebraska - Lincoln and is pursuing a Bachelor's Degree in Civil Engineering with an anticipated graduation date of December 2021. His hometown is McCook, Nebraska. David is a member of AWWA. He most recently worked with the City of McCook at their WWTP. He is a volunteer for community agencies such as the American Red Cross blood drives, summer driving for Meals on Wheels, and community trash pickup.

An excerpt from David's application states:

I wish to continue my education in Environmental Engineering and pursue a professorship. Doing so will allow me to teach the future generations of leaders in the public works fields. Combining coursework in Environmental Engineering and my practical experience as a WW operator, I believe I can positively impact our environment through teaching, research, and outreach.

Gabriel Cohen

Gabriel Cohen currently attends the University of Nebraska - Lincoln and is pursuing a Master's Degree in Environmental Engineering with an anticipated graduation date of December 2020. Carlos is from Lincoln, Nebraska. While at UNL, he has been active in the AWWA Community Engineering Corps projects in Davey and Liberty, as well as the World O! Water (2019). He is a member of AWWA, and currently works as a research and teaching assistant, and has been an intern at UNL's power plant and the City of Columbus WWTP.

An excerpt from Gabriel's application states:

During my undergraduate and graduate studies, I had opportunities to work with the communities of Davey and Liberty, NE. The experience of working with and communicating with the members of the communities was fulfilling. My goals as an engineer are to impact and help as many lives as I can. I believe the choice to be an environmental engineer was the correct one as I will be able to impact many lives through water.

Sussan (Suzanne) Moussavi

Sussan (Suzanne) Moussavi is currently attending University of Nebraska - Lincoln and is completing a Master's degree in December 2019, then pursuing a Doctorate Degree in Civil/Environmental Engineering, with an anticipated graduation date of May 2023. Her hometown is Omaha, Nebraska. Sussan is a member of AWWA, volunteers with the World O! Water and the AWWA Community Engineering Corps projects in Davey and Liberty, and is a dance instructor. She currently works as a research and teaching assistant.

An excerpt from Sussan's application states:

Through my work experiences and my current research, I am continuing to work towards my career objectives in order to maintain the public health and welfare while influencing the future generation of engineers.

Noelle Mware

Noelle Mware is currently attending the University of Nebraska - Lincoln, pursuing a PhD in Civil Engineering, with a projected graduation of Spring 2021. She received her bachelor's degree in Environmental Engineering from Benedict College (Columbia, SC) in May 2016. She is from Kenya, Africa. Noelle serves as a member of UNL Recycle and has been involved in several environmental and clean-up endeavors, including the World O! Water. She currently works as a research and teaching assistant.

Some excerpts from Noelle's application state:

My main career goal is to work in research and development...with non-governmental organizations towards enhancing water treatment techniques with the aim of providing safe drinking water, especially in developing countries... Eventually, I would love to open up a research firm based in my home country Kenya, where I will use the knowledge gained to provide environmental engineering solutions.

AWWA scholarship recipients (L-R): Sussan Moussavi, David Brewster, Gabriel Cohen, and Noelle Mware; photo by Daryl Kottwitz

Student Poster Competition

The third scholarship to be awarded was for a student poster competition. The prize included a $1,000 reimbursement assistance to present the poster at the national AWWA ACE conference in 2020.

Fatma Al-Sharji

The winner of this year's poster competition was Fatma Al-Sharji of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, with a poster titled "Magnetic Water Treatment for Scale Prevention on Water Heater Elements". We look forward to hearing about the experience.

NWEA and AWWA scholarship recipients (L-R): Andrew Post, Kelsey Kerns, Shabab Karimifard, Gabriel Cohen, David Brewster, Sussan Moussavi, Renys Barrios, Noelle Mware, and Fatma Al-Sharji; photo by Daryl Kottwitz

Thanks to the committee

I would like to thank this year's committee members: Chip Haas, Rod Kirkland, Mike Koenig, and Angel Lowery for their support and assistance this year.