Scholarship program introduces to collegiate scientists to commercial biodiesel industry
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Jeremy Ferrell, a Ph.D student at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, sees great potential for biodiesel to help revitalize rural areas once dominated by tobacco. It’s one reason he chose to pursue a career in energy and environment science, and today he conducts biodiesel research at an industrial ecology project in North Carolina.
“What fascinates me about biodiesel is its diversity across numerous sectors,” Ferrell said. “The opportunity for biodiesel to enhance rural economies is one of the things that drives my career.”
Ferrell is one of 16 college students with a unique opportunity to grow their passion for biodiesel at the National Biodiesel Conference & Expo, Feb. 4-7 in Las Vegas. The National Biodiesel Board views student participation as important since many students are already working on exciting biodiesel research, and are future industry leaders.
"They are often called 'student scientists,' but the reality is that these are full-fledged scientists, contributing to the large body of work that makes up biofuels research in this country," said NBB
Technical Project Manager Kyle Anderson. "There is tremendous potential for this NBB program to have a lasting impact on biodiesel research. It's a great investment to share solid information and build relationships with tomorrow's scientific thought leaders."
The scholarships are awarded to selected applicants who are members of the Next Generation Scientists for Biodiesel, an NBB program that aims to educate and collaborate with young scientists. The United Soybean Board also supports the program through the soybean checkoff.
“I believe the conference will present engaging information and activities that will allow me to solidify my knowledge, and strengthen research and career interests that I hope to pursue in my professional life,” said Nina De la Rosa, an Environmental Studies student at Florida International University in Miami. “The knowledge and professional network I gain from this conference will only allow my passion for biofuels to grow and strengthen my commitment to continue in a field that will remain of high importance in our quest for global sustainability.”
Like many of the other scholars, De la Rosa and Ferrell will present posters on their research during the event. This is the second year the conference has hosted a poster session.
The scholarships are funded by state soybean organizations and USB. The students come from a wide array of institutions, including:
- Utah State University
- Clemson University
- University of Colorado - Boulder
- Southern Illinois University
- University of Cincinnati
- Iowa State University
- Texas A&M
- University of Texas at Arlington
- Dartmouth College
Biodiesel is an advanced biofuel made from sustainable resources such as soybean oil, recycled grease and other fats and oils.
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For more on the Next Generation Scientists for Biodiesel initiative, visit biodieselsustainability.com.