October 07, 2009

‘Green scholarships’ still available at SIUC

by Tim Crosby

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Community college students who are interested in an environmental career still have the opportunity to take advantage of a special scholarship at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

The University still has two “green scholarships” available to qualified students. The scholarships, which provide up to $9,000 a year for two years, target economically disadvantaged students who are finishing up their general studies at community college but cannot afford to complete a four-year education.

To qualify, students must meet financial guidelines, have at least a 3.0 GPA and plan to major in an environmentally related field. SIUC is administering the four-year, $600,000 scholarship program with funds provided by the National Science Foundation. For more information and to apply, go to http://www.green.siu.edu/.

The scholarship is aimed at training the next generation of environmental experts. The University hopes to award up to 59 total scholarships during the program’s four-year life.

The scholarships will put the students on track for the expanding job market in “green” industrial positions or academia. Many industries are expanding their environmental focus and they need well-trained scientists and engineers to fill those positions.

Students who are interested in the scholarships might come from a scientific or engineering background, but also have environmental concerns. After finishing their community college career, they will attend SIUC and major in any number of areas, including zoology, plant biology, toxicology, chemistry or civil and environmental engineering, among many others.

Students might eventually go to work as a researcher, teacher or in a government agency. Some might work in industry, advising the company on ways to improve its environmental impact or as a public education specialist.

Part of the training at SIUC will see the students working with local agencies and industry on environmental issues specific to Southern Illinois. A capstone course will bring in representatives from these groups and put students in position to participate in the real-world effort to remediate environmental issues.