UNO and the Beach Announce First Cohort of Wind Scholars

NEW ORLEANS (press release) — The University of New Orleans and The Beach at UNO have announced the inaugural cohort of the Louisiana Wind Energy Hub’s Wind Scholars Program. These five engineering students will receive $5,000 scholarships from The Beach’s Innovation Fund for program-specific courses related to renewable energy and paid internships with industry-leading companies.

The applicants who were selected are: Elizabeth Donner (junior, civil engineering), Tamera Lepore (senior, naval architecture and marine engineering), Nahreen Mahmud (junior, electrical engineering), Gazi Raihan (graduate, mechanical engineering) and Melanie Ros (junior, civil engineering).

The five scholars were introduced to members of the New Orleans City Council during a presentation in council chambers on Tuesday.

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“Innovation in technology, policy support and economic development will provide a foundation for growth in the regional renewable energy sector,” said Lizette Chevalier, dean of the Dr. Robert A. Savoie College of Engineering. “Our Wind Scholars will have an opportunity to launch their careers with support from both industry and our programs within the college, which will make them well-prepared to enter the field.”

The Wind Scholars will receive a paid internship offered by RWE, Entergy, Gulf Wind Technology, Edison Chouest Offshore or Keystone Engineering. The internships will last from the 2023 fall semester through the summer of 2024.

The Wind Scholars Program is grounded in UNO’s ability to tailor a curriculum that suits the wind energy sector’s demands. With leadership from the University and The Beach at UNO, and facilitation by GNO, Inc., the program emerged from roundtable discussions and curriculum reviews with key industry leaders. These interactions were pivotal in packaging existing engineering courses, strategically turning a vision into a reality that aligns with the city, state and national climate action goals.

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“This response to the workforce development needs in wind energy sector has the ability to become a foundational blueprint for academic and industry collaboration that ensures students have the skills they need for emerging industries across the spectrum,” said Rebecca Conwell, president and CEO of The Beach at UNO.

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.

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