WTAMU Researchers Establish Renewable Energy Scholarship With more than 65 years of research experience in renewable energy between them, it’s no surprise that Dr. Vaughn Nelson and Kenneth Starcher are establishing the Starcher—Nelson Renewable Energy Scholarship for students at West Texas A&M University.
The two men, who have worked at WTAMU’s Alternative Energy Institute (AEI) since it was founded in 1977, have seen an increased interest in renewable energy and believe the scholarship will benefit students interested in studying alternative sources of energy.
“We’ve been teaching online introductory courses in wind energy and solar energy since 1998, and we get people from all over the world in the wind energy course,” Nelson, director of AEI, said. “They take the classes for continuing education credits or for certification.”
And there is a definite interest in the courses.
“The classes range from 25-50 students each, and we’ve had as many as 56,” Starcher, assistant director of training, education and outreach at AEI, said. “The online classes make it more accessible to a larger audience, and we definitely feel a worldwide support for them.”
The nation’s dwindling oil and gas reserves have created a shift to renewable energy, and the Starcher—Nelson Renewable Energy Scholarship fits well with that change. The scholarship will be used by AEI to assist students who are majoring in engineering, engineering technology, math or physics with an expressed interest in renewable energy. The two researchers hope to raise $10,000 for the scholarship with the first award recipient being selected in 2012.
Nelson retired from the WTAMU faculty in 2001 after 32 years as professor, department head and dean of the graduate school, research and information technology. He founded the AEI in 1977 and continues as its director today. He has spent a career in education and research to help build interest and support for the wind energy industry. He has presented numerous papers on the subject and is the author of Wind Energy—Renewable Energy and the Environment. He also is the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from the America Wind Energy Association.
Starcher began working at AEI as an undergraduate and has spent his entire adult career promoting its mission of conducting research and development in the use of alternative sources of energy including wind, solar and biomass. He received his master’s degree in engineering technology at WTAMU and has served as AEI’s assistant director, director and assistant director of training, education and outreach. He is an expert in small wind energy systems and has made numerous presentations on wind energy and wind turbines.
For more information on supporting the Starcher—Nelson Scholarship for Renewable Energy at West Texas A&M University, call the WT Foundation at 806-651-2070 or make a donation online here.