By Victoria A. Rocha | ECT Staff Writer
Five college students are the first recipients of scholarships from the Glenn English National Cooperative Leadership Foundation.
Formed in 2013, the foundation honors former NRECA CEO Glenn English by awarding scholarships to former Youth Tour participants who have shown a commitment to the seven cooperative principles. English retired in March 2013 after leading the association for 19 years.
Sean Southard, a rising senior at the University of Louisville in Kentucky won the foundation’s top prize, a $10,000 scholarship. The political science and history major is a member of Kenergy Corp., in Henderson.
In his video submission, Southard credited NRECA’s Youth Tour with helping him “break out of [his] shell” and setting him on a path to public service. He cited education and commitment to community as his guiding co-op principles.
Originally, the foundation was to have made a single $10,000 award. But this year, “the foundation board members were so impressed with the applicants, they decided to award $1,000 scholarships” to the remaining finalists, said Laura Marshall Schepis, NRECA vice president of political affairs.
These other recipients are as follows:
- Stephanie Dooper, a Latino studies major also attending the University of Louisville and a member of Kenergy Corp.
- Lexi Slack, a pre-veterinary medicine major at South Dakota State University and member of Southeastern Electric Co-op in Marion
- Dustin Toale, a real estate and finance major at the University of Northern Iowa and member of East-Central Iowa REC in Urbana
- Blake Ward, a history major at the University of South Carolina and member of Black River Electric Co-op in Sumter, S.C.
English praised the recipients for their “promise as political advocates for the electric cooperative program.”
“When I learned the NRECA Board intended to honor me with a scholarship program in my name, I suggested political leadership be a major criteria,” the former congressman said. “I believe our founders were correct in their belief, ‘Our program was born in politics, and if it dies, it will die in politics.’”
This year, the foundation received 35 applications from 17 different states. Twelve national NRECA directors comprise the foundation’s board and select recipients.
For more information, contact Rebecca Hill at NRECA’s Government Relations department, Rebecca.firstname.lastname@example.org, 703-907-5794.