SIU receives $1 million grant to fuel energy scholarships

Grid dispatching IMG_1212A national research agency has awarded Southern Illinois University Carbondale a new $1 million grant aimed at helping community college ­students prepare for careers in the energy sector.

The National Science Foundation awarded the grant from its Division of Undergraduate Education to SIU, said Lizette Chevalier, associate dean of the College of Engineering. Students can apply now for the Southern Illinois Energy Scholarship, which on average will be worth about $7,000 a year for two years, Chevalier added.

Fran Harackiewicz, professor of electrical and computer engineering, will serve as the main contact for students, manage the grant, and disseminate the findings of the research component as related to energy education.

SIU has a long history of educating tomorrow’s energy sector leaders. In addition to this latest scholarship opportunity, the university also is home to the Advanced Coal and Energy Research Center, which awards scholarships and provides a regional resource to help meet the challenges the energy industry will face in the future.

“Tomorrow’s leaders must study fields as diverse as renewable energy, so-called ‘smart grids,’ high-efficiency coal technology, energy efficiency in industry, advanced vehicles and bioenergy. Strong employment prospects await students who enter those fields,” Chevalier said. In Illinois, for example, employment and wage data predict a nearly nine percent increase in the number of energy related jobs, with the largest growth occurring in energy engineering.

The total grant is for $1 million, the majority of which will be ­available as scholarship money to qualified students, with transfer students from ­community colleges as the program’s main target. The amount of each scholarship will be based on financial need.

Programs eligible for the scholarship include: electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, mining engineering, electrical engineering technology, physics, chemistry, plant biology, geology, geography and architectural studies.

For more information and an application go to