Previous Winners

OISIK DAS, 2008 Scholarship Winner, Washington State University 

Oisik earned his PhD from the Centre for Advanced Composite Materials (CACM) at The University of Auckland, New Zealand. His research was focused on the utilization of biochar (obtained from pyrolysis/thermo-chemical conversion of lignocellulosic wastes) in areas of biocomposite development. Analyses relating to nano/micro/macro-mechanical, chemical, thermal, flammability were undertaken by him to comprehend the effect of biochar addition in polymeric biocomposites. The ultimate aim of Oisik's research was to develop a novel biocomposite obtained from waste-derived biochar which is both mechanically sound and fire resistant.  Oisik did his postdoc at KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, where he researched bio-based polymers and means to enhance their performance properties (e.g. mechanical, flammability, dimensional, etc).

Oisik's master degree is from Washington State University, Pullman, USA where he worked on the thermo-chemical conversion of lignocellulosic biomass to produce value added products (biochar, bio-oil and syngas). He served MMU University, Ambala, India as Assistant Professor where he worked with his masters and undergrad students in areas of waste utilization through various techniques (e.g. pyrolysis).  

"Regarding the scholarship, I would like to say, more than the monetary incentive, the academic inspiration was the main influence!  The scholarship was a thrust towards betterment of my research goals and allowed me to analyse future problems and possible solutions.  It was also encouraging for development of alternative sources of energies and utilization ​​of organic biomass wastes. Another important aspect of the scholarship was the opportunity to meet some wonderful people.  Brian Shelton came to Pullman, WA, personally to meet me and we became friends. Finally, the scholarship allowed me to introspect and decide to continue on a path of academic research.  I have been able to publish my research in highly reputed journals. I would endeavor to advance the application of biomass wastes to create innovative materials and processes."   

Oisik is currently an Assistant Professor at Luleå University of Technology in Sweden and his research interests pertain to the development of high-value carbon materials (e.g. graphene, GQDs, graphitic biochar) for biocomposite applications. 

JOHN TODD, 20
09 Scholarship Winner, University of Montana.

John received his Master of Science in Forestry from the University of Montana in 2010.  During his time at UM's College of Forestry and Conservation, John studied the social acceptance of biomass energy in Montana at a time when its utility in Big Sky Country was under close, public scrutiny.  That research led to
larger questions that transcended perceived environmental effects and dove deeper into the value-based judgments, tradeoffs and political choices for using shared natural resources.

"I was honored 
to receive the RESF scholarship.  It came at a time when I was not only questioning my research, but my decision to attend grad school entirely.  The award from the Foundation didn't just give me the courage to stick with graduate work, but the encouragement that my research question had value--just when I needed it."

Today, John is the Conservation Director for the Montana Wilderness Association where he puts his background in policy and public opinion to use in campaigns and programs that protect Montana's wild lands and outdoor traditions.  When he's not working to protect the backcountry, you can find John, his wife, their two daughters and faithful bird dog in some of Montana's last, best places.


CAROLYN VIRCA,
2016 Scholarship Winner, Portland State University

Carolyn Virca received her bachelor’s of science from the University of Portland in 2013. She went on to graduate school at Portland State University where she joined the lab of Dr. Theresa McCormick. Her work studying artificial photosynthesis has included applied nanochemistry for photochemical water splitting as well as tandem experimental and computational study of electrochemical water splitting using nickel complexes. During her time at PSU she founded the Portland State Women in STEM group and as served as its President for three years. 

"The scholarship gave me confidence and encouragement to continue pushing forward in graduate school. It reminded me of the importance of my work in developing renewable energy technologies and provided me with more clarity about my goals moving forward. Being a scholarship recipient has made me a more competitive candidate and has certainly contributed to my continued success in pursuing a scientific career." 

Carolyn earned her PhD in 2018 and moved to the University of British Columbia, where she works in Dr. Curtis Burlinguette’s lab as a Stewart Blusson Quantum Matter Institute Fellow studying machine learning. Her research interests include transition metal chemistry, catalysis, computational chemistry and photochemistry.


DUSTIN WELCH GARCÍA2017 Scholarship Winner, University of Washington

Dustin finished his PhD at the Jackson School of International Studies at the University of Washington.  His research asked when and why NGO-led electrification programs catalyze innovation in large-scale, public/private solar energy projects. The empirical focus of his research was an NGO whose success has prompted the Peruvian government to electrify 500,000 homes via solar energy. This demonstrates that small-scale NGO initiatives may be able to spur governments to adopt energy policies that address historical structural inequalities, while progressing towards a global clean energy future. His project offers an ethnography of the policy contact zone between state and non-state actors, both in the capital city and selected rural field sites. A state-society understanding of how energy policy is constructed and negotiated in Perú can generate insights into the politics of clean energy in other developing states.

Now Dustin has started a consultant company— Ghost Grid | ConsultingThis new venture builds upon his 10+ years of experience in the clean energy and development space. The services provided by his interdisciplinary consulting team include: research and programmatic evaluations, ethnographic fieldwork, data management, visualization, and analysis, as well as special projects that fall outside these areas.


FORREST LASKOWSKI, 2017 Scholarship Winner, University of Oregon

Forrest is a PhD candidate at the University of Oregon. His research focuses on understanding the junction dynamics of photoelectrochemical cells for hydrogen evolution. Specifically, he is examining the semiconductor-catalyst junction of various photoanodes (i.e. n-Si, BiVO4, Fe2O3), both through experiment and computation, to identify key junction properties which produce efficient solar cells. This research ultimately aims to identify and leverage junction design principles in producing highly efficient photoelectrochemical cells for energy storage. Forrest holds dual bachelor degrees in Chemistry and Computer Science from Carroll College, a small liberal arts college in Helena, Montana. 
Advisor: Shannon Boettcher, Professor of Chemistry - U of O


TERESA WANG, 2018 Undergraduate Scholarship Winner, University of Washington

Teresa graduated from the University of Washington in 2018 with a B.S. in Environmental Science and Resource Management, as well as a minor in Architecture and a minor in Urban Ecological Design. At UW, she was heavily involved with UW Solar, a student group which promotes solar energy installations on UW campus and in the greater Seattle area. She was also involved with the International Forestry Students’ Association, which works to promote the practice and education of sustainable natural resource use in both the local and international community. Additionally, she was a part of the Hydro-biogeochemistry Research Group at UW and served as a research assistant on a project which investigated the impacts of climate change on rice grain quality. Teresa is passionate about applying her knowledge of environmental and sustainability sciences to an urban development context; she now works as a Sustainability Consultant at Rushing Company, a MEP engineering consulting firm in Seattle.


MICHAEL NELLIST, 2018 Scholarship Winner and Sir Fraser Stoddart Scholar, University of Oregon

Michael is a PhD candidate in Chemistry at the University of Oregon. He is motivated by the need to generate cleaner energy from renewable sources, as well as finding new ways to store that energy. Photoelectrochemical water splitting provides one promising route to do this, by capturing the energy from the sun and converting it into energy dense hydrogen fuel. His research investigates these systems using novel microscopy approaches that provide insight into the mechanisms by which water splitting takes place. This knowledge can be applied to make more efficient photoelectrochemical water splitting devices. Michael earned his bachelor degree in Chemistry at the State University of New York, College at Geneseo.

Advisor: Shannon Boettcher, Professor of Chemistry